White House chief of staff John Kelly said Thursday of which President Donald Trump had done the best he could in calling the widow of a slain U.S. Army sergeant killed in Niger earlier of which month.
“If you’ve never been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make of which call,” Kelly told reporters in a surprise appearance at the daily White House press briefing.
Kelly, a Gold Star father, delivered an emotional defense of the president, who was criticized on Wednesday for his comments on a call with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four Americans killed in Niger on Oct. 4.
“There’s no perfect way to make of which phone call,” Kelly said, adding of which when Trump asked him how to call the families of the four slain service members, “My first recommendation to him was of which he not do of which, because of which’s not the phone call of which parents along with family members are looking forward to.”
Kelly described how Trump had asked him, “What do I say?” Kelly said he replied of which there was nothing the president could say of which could lighten the burden for the four families.
however to help Trump prepare for the calls, Kelly explained to the president what he himself had been told in a phone call after his son Robert Kelly was killed in combat in Afghanistan.
“He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed,” Kelly said, recalling what his best friend, Gen. Joe Dunford, at of which point chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had told him. “He knew what he was getting into by joining of which one percent. He knew what the possibilities were, because we were at war. along with when he died he was surrounded by the best men on of which earth.”
Kelly added, “of which’s what the president tried to say to the four families.”
Dunford’s line about a soldier knowing what he was getting into will be precisely what Trump tried to say to Myeshia Johnson in a phone call on Tuesday, first described publicly by Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who had known the Johnson family for years along with was sitting with Johnson when she received the call.
Wilson said she heard Trump tell Johnson of which her late husband, “knew what he was signing up for …. however when of which happens of which hurts anyway,” along with of which the president’s call left Johnson in tears. Wilson was in a car with Johnson when the call came along with only heard of which after Johnson put of which on speakerphone.
Nonetheless, Kelly sharply criticized Wilson for listening to the call. “of which stuns me of which a member of Congress could’ve listened in on of which conversation,” Kelly told reporters. “I thought at least of which was sacred.”
The duty of presidential condolence calls has been complicated in recent days by Trump’s decision to compare the calls he’s made with those of his predecessor, President Barack Obama. Earlier of which week, Trump claimed of which Obama had not called families of the fallen along with of which he had called the families of every soldier killed during his presidency.
Neither statement was true, along with both Trump along with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have walked back Trump’s claims since then.
Kelly also appeared to refute Trump’s insistence of which Wilson had “totally fabricated” her account of the call, along with of which Trump had “proof” of of which.
Asked by reporters Wednesday what he had talked to Johnson about, Trump quickly grew defensive.
“I didn’t say what of which congresswoman said; didn’t say of which all,” Trump said at the White House. “I did not say what she said, along with I’d like her to make the statement again because I did not say what she said. Had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife, who was — sounded like a lovely woman. Did not say what the congresswoman said, along with most people aren’t too surprised to hear of which,” Trump said.