October 22, 2017

We've heard a lot from Donald Trump and his toadies about Rep. Frederica Wilson, but we haven't really heard much from her. She has chosen not to climb down into the mudpit and wrestle with the slime there. Good for her.

But she did speak to Joy Ann Reid today about why she was in that car with Sgt. La David Johnson's wife and mother, and why she heard Trump's call to them. She also had a message for Gen. John Kelly, whom she called a "puppet of the President." She also chided him to apologize for his remarks, because as she pointed out, he not only lied about her, but he lied to the American people about her. For that, she says, he owes an apology.

She is also quite concerned that this incident is being swept under the rug. She wants investigations, calling it Trump's "Benghazi." My only quibble with her on that is that Benghazi was tragic, but also overblown with lies in order to do political harm to Hillary Clinton. I think this incident warrants an investigation and full reporting of the facts, with the consequences falling where they may.

Let's not do with Republicans did, though I will say this: Trump lied; people died. That right there is a fact.

The transcript of Wilson's interview follows. As she notes, this all began because she has led the "Bring Back Our Girls" push for terrorist group Boko Haram to release the girls they kidnapped. Activity in Africa is an area in which Rep. Wilson is deeply engaged.


JOY REID: Meanwhile, Congresswoman, the President of the United States is still focusing on you. He was tweeting about you this morning, and there is his tweet: Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving. What do you make of the fact that the president is so focused on you and has not tweeted about Sergeant Johnson?

REP. WILSON: Well, that's the way he is. I am sick of him giving people nicknames. He doesn't want me to give him a nickname, but today I want to set the record straight and I want people to understand what is actually happening in Africa, and try to connect the dots.

Because I think this is going to be this administration's Benghazi. This is going to be Trump's Benghazi. Trump's Niger. They need to concentrate on what happened and what is happening.

Representative Hastings and I wrote a letter to General Mattis about this investigation. We have not heard anything. I want to go way back to when I started with this: Bring Back Our Girls. Every Wednesday. There was a multinational task force that was put together that included Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Benin, and Chad. So they were put in place to fight Boko Haram.

Boko Haram broke in half. One-half went with ISIS. That's the root that's in Niger. The other half is still in Nigeria and the Nigerian area.

So as I am advocating for Bring Back Our Girls and advocating against Boko Haram and going to Africa and making sure that the Congress watches this, and we're wearing red every Wednesday, unbeknownst to me, I have a soldier who is personal to me, who was a member of my 5,000 Role Models of Excellence project in that region fighting or advising troops against Boko Haram.

All of this is going on and I do not know.

So here I am in America, advocating against Boko Haram, fighting for the release of the little girls who they kidnapped from their boarding school -- 274 of them, going back to Nigeria to visit them, to let them know the Congress of the United States has not forgotten them, and all of this fighting that is going on in that region of Africa, and I don't think we have done enough.

In the meantime, I get a call that La David was killed in Niger. Fighting Boko Haram. How coincidental can this be?

This is very personal to me. It's very personal to me, and it's amazing how these two things locked together. I am just distraught about it, that this has come to this, and I just want somebody to answer the question, why was La David separated from the rest of his battalion? Why was La David found almost a mile away? Why was he not in an armored truck?

I want to know. Representative Hastings and I want to know. We're neighboring Congresspeople and we wrote the letter and we want this investigation. I just love, love Senator McCain, that he is right on it. But we want to be on it, too.

JOY REID: Yeah. I know that you have known now Senator Marco Rubio for a long time, and Miami is a big city that -- a big city with a small town. He was also at the funeral the other day.

REP. WILSON: He was right there with me at the funeral.

JOY REID: I asked Leader Pelosi a few moments ago if she felt the leadership in the House and like McCain has indicated has not gotten enough information, and she indicated they have not. Are you concerned that the White House is not pursuing those questions about Niger?

REP. WILSON: I am extremely concerned about this issue and it's a major problem. I am hoping when we return tomorrow that everyone will jump on this, because this is a catastrophe. We have four soldiers who died!


REP. WILSON: They have been buried. We need to know why and we need to know about the special circumstances surrounding La David Johnson. It really strange and it really getting next to me and is causing a lot of concentration in our community, because people want to know, why La David, why was he left?

JOY REID: You don't want to make this about yourself and you said repeatedly you want it to be about that issue, and I want to ask you, Maxine Waters indicated John Kelly owes you an apology. He did get the story completely wrong about the dedication of the FBI building in your district, and would you like to have an apology from John Kelly?

REP. WILSON: You know, John Kelly is almost -- I guess you could say he was a puppet of the president and what he was trying to do was divert the attention away from the president onto me, and he basically just lied on me.

I don't like -- I don't appreciate people lying on me. That's what he did. I have been in politics a long time and most things don't bother me, you know, it just rolls off my back. I have been lied on before, but the character assassination that he went through to call me out of my name, an empty barrel, yes he owes me an apology but he owes an apology to the American people, because when he lied on me he lied to them, and yes, he owes the American people an apology for lying on one of their congresswomen.

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