John Kelly vowed on Monday night that he would ‘never’ apologize for making false remarks about Rep. Frederica Wilson on October 19.
Fox News’s Laura Ingraham asked him if he would step back from his comments, in which he called Wilson an ’empty barrel’ and incorrectly said that she had boasted about her fundraising in a 2015 memorial service.
‘Oh, no. No. Never,’ he responded. ‘Well, I’ll apologize if I need to. But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.’
John Kelly told Fox news on Monday night that he would ‘never’ apologize to Frederica Wilson for saying she boasted about raising funds during a somber FBI dedication ceremony
He had claimed Wilson made the claims in a speech but footage showed he was wrong. He said on Monday she made the remarks before or after the speech instead
Earlier this month, Kelly complained that the Democrat Representative had gone on stage at the dedication service for a new FBI field office in Miami and boasted about the money she raised to build it.
He said the audience was ‘stunned’ by the remarks at the somber occasion, which saw the building being named after two agents who died in the line of duty.
But footage played by Ingraham – who was interviewing Kelly for the debut of her Fox News show The Ingraham Angle – showed that Wilson made no such claims.
Kelly suggested that she had actually made the comments at the event but outside of her speech, calling it a ‘package deal.’
‘Well, I’ll go back and talk about before her comments and at the reception afterwards,’ he said. ‘Again, it was a package deal. Don’t want to get into it.’
Interviewer Laura Ingraham tried to get him to open up about the recently filed Russia probe charges, but he evaded with rambling, deflecting answers
He also bemoaned the ‘politicalization’ of soldiers, referring to the incident that sparked off the feud.
That occurred when Wilson said that she had been present during Donald Trump’s allegedly insensitive phone call to war widow Myeshia Johnson.
Johnson and Wilson said that Trump had told the widow that her husband – Sgt La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger – ‘knew what he signed up for.’
Kelly told Ingraham he saw ‘the president make a phone call as best he could… he did the best he could to make it personal.’
‘As far as the young widow goes, she has every right to say what she wants to say,’ Kelly added. ‘But it’s the politicization [sic] of something that was so from the heart.’
Ingraham also asked Kelly about the charges filed against Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Manafort’s business associate Rick Gates, and campaign foreign policy adviser George Papdopouolos.
But Kelly was evasive, saying that the issues they were charged with allegedly occurred prior to the Trump campaign beginning.
He said that ‘Everyone’s innocent till…’ before catching himself and changing his phrasing to ‘presumed innocent,’ adding: ‘We’ll see where it goes.’
An attempt to bring up the possibly links between Trump and Russia were met with a rambling evasion that began with an assurance of confidence in Trump’s innocence, then turned into a claim that the public has no confidence in ‘Congress and the media’.
He then called for a special counsel to be appointed to investigate Democrats over a uranium deal during the Obama administration and a dossier compiled on Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Kelly said that he and his colleagues were ‘very, very confident’ that Trump was innocent of collusion with Russia, and that the charges were related to events from before the campaign
‘I think probably as a layman looking at this kind of thing we need to find someone who is very, very objective who can get to the bottom of these accusations,’ Kelly said.
He added that he hopes Robert Mueller’s investigation will ‘wrap up soon.’
Kelly also complained about the ‘destabilizing’ threat of North Korean nuclear arms, and acknowledged that China ‘beat us very bad in trade’ but added ‘that doesn’t make them an enemy.’
And when asked about the removal of plaques dedicated to Christopher Columbus and George Washington at a church, he said: ‘Well, history’s history.’
‘And there are certain things in history that were not so good and other things that were very, very good.
‘I think we make a mistake, though, and as a society and certainly as individuals, when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, 300 years or more and say what those, you know, what Christopher Columbus did was wrong.’