In a way, you have to pity Frederica Wilson. As a thoroughly undistinguished member of Congress, she’s had to resort to all sorts of hijinks to grab the spotlight–such as when she inserted herself into the Travon Martin case, inflaming an already tense situation with race-baiting rhetoric and calls to imprison George Zimmerman before there was even a trial. Then there’s her choice of headwear–those weird, sequined cowboy hats that look as if they came from a Halloween costume or a drag show (take your pick). Long ago, Wilson must have made the calculation that if people of District 24 didn’t even know her name, they’d at least remember her as that loudmouth with the funny fashion sense, so what the hell I’ll vote for her.
Wilson also calls attention to herself by glomming on to someone more famous, kind of like a Twitter troll who subtweets a celebrity in the hopes of going viral. So when Donald Trump got elected, she saw the perfect opportunity to gain some brush-by notoriety by proclaiming that she would not attend his inauguration. Never mind that this idea wasn’t even original–dozens of other Democrats beat her to the punch–so long as she cobbled together a few headlines, Wilson could claim a victory for her district without having to actually do anything.
Which leads us to today, and Wilson’s war of words with the president over the condolence call he made to the widow of La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger along with three other American soldiers. Wilson, who said she was present when Trump made the call and overheard the conversation, accused the president of being flippant and insensitive, and promptly ran with her claim to any reporter who would listen. Given the news media’s obsession with making Trump look bad, they lapped up the story like Alex the dog with a bowl full of Stroh’s, and Wilson has been a cable news fixture ever since.
Lost in this back and forth, however, is any consideration for Johnson’s widow, Myeshia, and her children. Seeing his death played out in the media for political advantage has to be heartbreaking enough–but somehow, incredibly, Frederica Johnson has made it even worse. Now she’s playing it for laughs, as you can see in the clip below:
— Alan He (@alanhe) October 19, 2017
What’s ironic here is that the only reason Wilson engages in this shtick is that she wants the White House to follow her every word. Getting to be a rock star for five minutes is her goal. And she seems to be having the time of her life now that the cameras following her around. As for La David Johnson and his grieving family, they’ve served their purpose. Never forget, though, Donald Trump is the insensitive one.
By the way, in the briefing that Wilson found so amusing, White House chief of staff John Kelley took the occasion to correct the Congresswoman’s characterization of the condolence call:
“I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing,” Kelly told reporters of Wilson during the White House press briefing. “A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero. He knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted. There’s no reason to enlist. He enlisted, and he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken.”
Kelly continued, “That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.”
Kelly also related what it’s like to lose a loved one, because he knows from personal experience. His own son was killed during combat in Afghanistan.
“Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me, because he was my casualty officer,” Kelly said he told Trump about how to deliver condolences to grieving families.
“He said, ‘Kel, 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. He knew what the possibilities were, because we’re at war,'” Kelly said.
“And when he died, in the four cases we’re talking about in Niger and my son’s case in Afghanistan, when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth, his friends,” Kelly said. “That’s what the president tried to say to four families the other day.”
Absolutely hilarious, right?
Frederica Wilson is a disgrace.