Absolute silence fell over the White House Press Briefing room as White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly addressed the media on Thursday afternoon. His appearance comes after the controversy between Trump and Congresswomen Frederica Wilson, who made claims that President Trump’s phone call remarks to the Gold Star widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson were “insensitive.” Kelly expressed that he was “heartbroken and stunned” to hear the claims made by Wilson.
Kelly went through the process for a soldier that dies in combat and the tradition that Presidents typically write letters to the families of the fallen soldier, but Trump reached out to them personally with a call. Trump’s decision to call the four families was made to express his sincerely condolences to them after their loss.
“If you’ve never worn the uniform, if you’ve never been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make that call, but I think he very bravely does make those calls,” Kelly said.
Kelly emotionally expressed what his Casualty Officer told him after the passing of his marine lieutenant son in combat seven years ago.
“He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that one percent. When he died he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends. That’s what the President tried to say to four families the other day,” Kelly said.
Upon hearing the news of the feud, Kelly said that he took an hour and a half visit to Arlington Cemetery and walked among the stones, some of which he placed himself.
“Who are these men and women? They are the best one percent this country produces,” Kelly said.
When asked about the operation in Niger, Kelly stated that part of the mission was to work with partners and to teach them how to combat ISIS in their regions “so that we don’t have to send our soldiers and marines there” by the thousands. There is a continued investigation to see how the ambush that killed four Americans, including Sgt. La David T. Johnson, occurred.