Government

Johnson Tells Wilson to Apologize or Face Censure

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, (R-6 Ohio) says if U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson does not apologize to President Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, he will “begin the legislative process of asking the House of Representatives to formally censure her for the heartless behavior she displayed in this situation.”

Johnson was referring to Wilson’s criticism that Trump was insensitive to the grief of the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed two weeks ago in Niger. In a phone call to the widow, Trump said Johnson “knew what he was getting into” when he volunteered for military duty. Wilson, a longstanding friend of the Johnson family, listened in on the call and subsequently told reporters the president had worsened the family’s grief with his comments.

Kelly, a retired four-star general whose son was killed while on duty in Afghanistan seven years ago, defended the president during an emotional statement Thursday in the White House briefing room.

“Now that we know that the sentiments expressed in the president’s phone call to the grieving family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson were suggested to him by Gold Star father and former four-star General John Kelly, it’s clear that Congresswoman Frederica Wilson has inappropriately politicized this tragic situation,” Johnson said in a statement released by his office. “Her recent appearances on cable TV, bashing the commander-in-chief and talking about how she wanted to ‘curse him out’ while he was trying to console a grieving family are beneath the dignity of her office. General Kelly said he was ‘stunned’ and ‘disheartened’ by her craven political stunt and we must all wonder if her actions didn’t reopen deep emotional wounds in General Kelly and his family.”

Johnson, who lives in Marietta and represents a district that includes portions of Mahoning County and all of Columbiana County, noted in his statement that he spent 26 years in the U.S. Air Force, “serving with heroes and commanding brave men and women who were often in harm’s way. I was particularly appalled at Rep. Wilson’s interference in what should have been a time of grief and reverence for a fallen hero.

“That’s why I’m publicly calling on Rep. Wilson to apologize to President Trump and General Kelly. If she does not, I will begin the legislative process of asking the House of Representatives to formally censure her for the heartless behavior she displayed in this situation.”

Wilson says she stands by her comments.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.