“A person who didn’t want to be seen around military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good to me’…and who rambles that our most valuable heroes who gave their lives in defense of America are ‘ losers’ and would not visit their graves in France,” Kelly told CNN in a statement.
But five years earlier, Kelly had defended the former president and attacked Wilson. At the time, Kelly accused Wilson of being “selfish” for calling Trump’s comments about the widow of a fallen Marine insensitive. Trump had told the widow that her husband “must know what he signed up for,” a comment Wilson overheard because she was in close proximity to the grieving family.
Wilson took the comments very personally. The widow’s husband, Army Sgt. David Johnson was killed in an ambush in Niger in 2017 and was participating in a mentoring program started by Wilson in Miami. She said she was still close to the family.
Trump’s handling of the Niger ambush has come under scrutiny, as has his conduct toward the families of the slain soldiers.
“He knew Mr. Trump’s record,” Wilson said, referring to Kelly. “For him to stand in the White House behind the podium and lie, he’s an idiot and he should be ashamed of himself.”
Wilson wasn’t the only one to take offense to Trump’s comments. Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, was also present during the 2017 call and told the Washington Post that “Trump disrespected my son and my daughter and me and my husband.”
Wilson said she wanted to take the phone away to curse Trump.
And now, all these years later, Wilson said she’s considering suing Kelly for defamation.
“It’s personal. It has to do with my feelings and my name,” Wilson said. “I don’t want generations of kids, years from now, to pick up a book or read an article about me and John Kelly and have me misrepresented.”
Kelly did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Wilson said she hopes some Gold Star families will feel some relief when Kelly confirms the former president’s statements and speaks out against them. But she says she feels no relief.
“He’s an idiot for selling his soul for so long to a man he knew was lying, a man he knew disrespected military families, Gold Star families, widows, to members of Congress – whatever he had to do with the military,” she said.