It’s like something out of Stephen Colbert—the old, O’Reillyesque Colbert. After White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired general, lied about Rep. Frederica Wilson claiming that she had gotten funding for a new FBI building, a story immediately contradicted by a recording of Wilson’s speech in which she claimed no such thing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted it was “highly inappropriate” to question Kelly’s false account because he was a retired general. Now, Sanders has followed up with the claim that Kelly felt his lie was true, and therefore it is not to be questioned:
Sanders: “I don’t think that General Kelly was wrong, and therefore I don’t think he should offer an apology.”
April Ryan: “So where did he get that information, then?”
Sanders: “He was there. And this wasn’t—everyone wants to narrow this down to a nine-minute speech. This was something that took place over the course of the day and you have two different accounts, and I think General Kelly gave one of the most heartfelt, raw, and emotional accounts that anyone could give, and I think he has a lot of credibility on this topic and a lot of credibility in general given the life of service that he has lived.”
It was a heartfelt, raw, and emotional account and the fact that the other “account” includes a video of the event in question showing Kelly’s heartfelt, raw, blah blah blah to be completely false does not make him wrong, according to Sanders. We’re to believe that Wilson lied to Kelly about her role in the new FBI building in ways that she lied to no one else who has gone on the record about that day and in ways that weren’t even hinted at in her public speech.
And since the public record is 100 percent against Kelly on this, Sanders wants to make it about his “credibility” because of his “life of service.” Well, Frederica Wilson has lived a life of service, as a teacher and principal and school board member and organizer of a mentoring program and state legislator and member of Congress. Why does her life of service count less when the White House press secretary is talking about credibility? Is it just because her service wasn’t military or is it also because she’s a black woman and he’s a white man? You don’t have to go too far out on a limb to suspect the latter. For this White House, the word of the white military man is to be taken above the word of the black congresswoman and the entire public record. Duly noted.