SAD, but it matters: the Trump Administration has been lashing out against fake news and Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson this week, but like most of these things, it’s important because somebody called out Trump about a lie or horribly misguided comment stemming from an actual tragedy. So here’s the recap:
The dispute began on Monday, October 16th, when Trump was asked by reporters why he hadn’t spoken about or made contact with the families of four Green Berets who were killed in Niger on October 4th. The four soldiers are thought to have been killed by followers of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, a sought-after leader of a Nigerian faction of the Islamic State.
On Monday, Trump claimed in a Rose Garden news conference that he’d written letters over the weekend and just hadn’t gotten around to sending them:
I’ve written them personal letters. They’ve been sent, or they’re going out tonight. But they were written during the weekend. I will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families, because I have done that traditionally.
On top of that, he added that Obama hadn’t made condolence calls, which Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes called “an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards.”
On Tuesday, Wilson reportedly listened in over speakerphone on a call that Trump made to Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s widow Myeshia Johnson, quoting Trump as saying that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.” The New York Times reported:
“Myeshia, the entire time, was in a ball, rolled up almost like in a fetal position crying,” Ms. Wilson said on Wednesday. “What he said was, ‘I guess he knew what he was signing up for but it still hurts.’ That’s how he said it.”
On Wednesday, Trump said that was a lie. “Sad!”
Wilson stuck to her story.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Wilson “politicized this issue, and the way that she is trying to make this about something that it isn’t.”
On Thursday, John Kelly falsely claimed that Wilson took credit for securing funding for an FBI building, which according to several news outlets’ fact-checks, she did not; she wasn’t a member of Congress when that money was secured.
On Thursday, Wilson told a POLITICO reporter that “John Kelly’s trying to keep his job.”
On Friday, CBS News correspondent Chip Reid, remarked during a briefing that “[Kelly] was wrong yesterday in talking about getting the money. The money was … before she came into Congress.” Sanders said that questioning a four-star Marine general was “highly inappropriate,” implying that the media had no right to criticize the White House.
On Saturday, Trump repeatedly called Wilson a “Wacky Congresswoman” who is “killing the Democratic Party!”
Hours later, dozens of Florida residents lined up to salute the hearse carrying the remains of Sgt. La David Johnson. About 1,200 people came to pay their respects at a private funeral, the Washington Post reported.
On Sunday, in an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump said that he found Wilson’s comments about Kelly sickening, and then, weirdly, said John Kelly that “doesn’t need this job” and added “In fact, he didn’t really want this job.”
Meanwhile on Sunday, Wilson appeared on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” to say that John Kelly owes her an apology. “Not only does he owe me an apology, but he owes an apology to the American people,” Wilson said and accused him of “character assassination.”
Wilson also tweeted that the ambush in Niger is Trump’s “Benghazi.”
And now you’re all caught up. Again, this stemmed from a tragedy in which four people died, memorialized forever in the National Archives via a Twitter war.