Congresswoman on John Kelly's criticism: 'I'm a rock star now'

Frederica Wilson John Kelly empty barrel newday_00000000
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Story highlights

  • Kelly, speaking at a White House press briefing Thursday afternoon, had denounced Wilson
  • Trump and Wilson have engaged in a public dispute

Washington (CNN)Rep. Frederica Wilson is laughing off criticism lobbed at her from White House chief of staff John Kelly, saying his comments show "I'm a rock star now."

The Florida Democrat made the comment to Miami Fox affiliate WSVN-TV Thursday in response to Kelly.
"You mean to tell me that I have become so important that the White House is following me and my words?" Wilson said. "This is amazing. It's amazing, that is absolutely phenomenal. I have to tell my kids that I'm a rock star now."
    She also said she has been getting threats from white nationalists in the wake of her public dispute with the White House.
    Kelly, speaking at a White House press briefing Thursday afternoon, denounced Wilson after the Florida congresswoman publicly criticized President Donald Trump's comments during a phone call with the widow of a fallen soldier. Wilson was present during the phone call and told CNN that Trump had told the widow that her husband "knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt."
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    A Gold Star father, Kelly said he was "brokenhearted" by the congresswoman's criticism and said that he had advised Trump on what to say before he called the families of the four fallen soldiers who died during an ambush in Niger. Kelly said he encouraged Trump to echo words Gen. Joseph Dunford offered to Kelly when his own son was killed in Afghanistan.
    "He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1%. He knew what the possibilities were because we were at war," Kelly said, channeling Dunford's words to him upon the death of his son. "And when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends. That's what the President tried to say to the four families the other day."
    Trump and Wilson have engaged in a public dispute over the past several days over the highly sensitive call placed to the late Sgt. La David Johnson's family. Wilson said Friday the President's words were "not a good message to say to anyone who has lost a child at war."
    "You don't sign up because you think you're going to die," she told CNN. "You sign up to serve your country."