Wilson Kelly
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Donald Trump is facing criticism for how he allegedly spoke to a Gold Star wife. The widow, Myeshia Johnson, lost her husband, Sgt. La David T. Johnson, during an ambush attack by Islamic extremists while he was on patrol in Niger.

When President Trump called to console the grieving widow, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), was listening in. After the call, Wilson told reporters that Trump was disrespectful and that he told Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for.” Trump denied making the comment, but the backlash from critics was severe.

In a press conference at the White House on Thursday, Chief of Staff John Kelly, a Gold Star father himself, opened up about his process advising the president in such a tough time. Kelly said he advised the president to not call the families because there is still so much hurt.

Kelly spoke in depth about his emotions when he lost his own son, how President Barack Obama did not call him, and how his son's death affects him to this day.

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“If you elect to call a family like this, it's about the most difficult thing you can imagine,” Kelly told the room of silent reporters, “There's no perfect way to make that phone call.”

Kelly went on to say:

“When I took this job and talked to President Trump about how to do it, my first recommendation is he not do it. Because it's not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to.”

However, Kelly saved his harshest criticism for Congresswoman Wilson, who began the controversy. Kelly said:

"I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and broken-hearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing. A member of Congress, who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife. [...]

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. I thought at least that was sacred."

Kelly then said he had to walk the tombstones of Arlington to collect himself after hearing what Rep. Wilson was saying:

“When I listen to this woman and what she was saying, what she was doing on TV, the only thing I can do to collect my thoughts is to go and walk among the finest men and women on this Earth. You can always find them. They're in Arlington National Cemetery. I went over there for one-and-a-half hours, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed.”

Kelly went on to call Wilson “selfish" and said of her that the "empty barrels [make] the most noise.”

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Joe Skipper/Getty Images

In response, Rep. Wilson said of the emotional rebuke from the Gold Star father, “John Kelly's trying to keep his job. He will say anything.”

The comment was captured by Politico's Marc Caputo:

A sad continuation of an even sadder story.

Watch the video below.

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