The line between real news and fake news is quickly blurred when the media decide to double down on the investment in an anti-Trump meme. Such is the case with the media’s investment in a Florida congresswoman’s attacks on President Donald Trump for his call to the grieving widow of Army Special Forces Sgt. La David Johnson, killed October 4 in the West African nation of Niger.
When the president decides to make such a call to the family member of a fallen warrior, the White House staff always contacts the family in advance to set the precise time for the call. Thus, Sgt. Johnson’s widow knew when the call was coming and chose to invite congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL) to listen in. Okay, well and good so far – that was her choice to make. But what Rep. Wilson and the liberal media did with that privileged access to a private conversation is a disgrace. Rep. Wilson’s actions should be condemned for what they are: partisanship gone way over the line into forbidden territory.
I’ve been there. Perhaps the most difficult task I undertook as a member of Congress was to try and express my heartfelt sorrow to the spouse or family of a fallen soldier who had lived in my district. My practice was to have our American flag flown over the US Capitol in honor of the serviceman who had died in action and then to deliver that flag in person, along with a framed copy of the Congressional Record containing the comments I had made on behalf of the young warrior on the floor of the House of Representatives.
I knew that there were no words that I could possibly utter that would provide real comfort to a grieving family. I also knew that probably the last person the family was hoping to see at their door was a politician. Therefore I never, ever even contemplated a discussion with the family that could possibly hint of politics. In a few cases, my wife and I became friends with the family and still communicate with them to this day. They are marvelous people we have come to cherish. Even so, I wish we had never met them – at least under the circumstances which brought us together.
I cannot imagine how I would have managed to fulfill that sorrowful obligation if I had known that a politician from the opposing party was waiting on the arrival of that flag and that personal message in order to politicize the event by excoriating me for the inadequacy or “insensitivity” of my words. Yet, that is what Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson did when President Trump called the widow of a fallen warrior. She attacked the President and turned a solemn occasion into a political platform – to become a “rock star” in the eyes of all who suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Frederica Wilson’s stunt drags our nation to a new low in “gotcha politics.” It reminds me of when funerals of fallen soldiers were disrupted by the traveling clowns of the Westboro Baptist Church. But those disruption are universally condemned. By the standards of Rep. Frederica Wilson – celebrated and approved by a partisan, avaricious media – such deplorable behavior would be considered patriotic if the object of derision were President Donald Trump.
When I first read about Congresswoman Wilson’s shameful actions, that she had listened in on a call made by the President to the grieving widow of soldier killed in action and then had the audacity to run to reporters with her interpretation of the call, I wanted to vomit. It’s no secret that I disliked President Obama every bit as much as Rep. Wilson hates President Trump. But had I been sitting in the home or the funeral limousine of a grieving widow or mother when Obama made a call (which from all reports he rarely did), it would never occur to me to use the occasion to make political hay from that private conversation.
The fawning press also has not reported on Wilson’s hypocrisy. In 2014 and 2015, she was a leading cheerleader in the Congressional Black Caucus calling for American military assistance to Nigeria to help fight the Boko Haram terrorists and help rescue the nearly 300 young female students kidnapped by that Islamist terrorist group in 2014. Boko Haram, since then, has announced its affiliation with the Islamic State terrorist network (ISIS) and expanded its activities into the neighboring countries of Mali, Niger, and Chad.
What is peculiar about the media coverage of Rep. Wilson’s angry protests is the absence of any mention that she was the chief House sponsor of a bill passed by Congress in 2015, H.R. 3833, which called on the Government “To require a regional strategy to address the threat by Boko Haram.” In compliance with that congressional mandate and other anti-terrorism programs, the Pentagon directed its Africa Command to provide training and assistance to local anti-terrorism military operations in those countries. And yet, when the implementation of that mandate to help combat terrorism in Africa led, in 2017, to four casualties, Rep. Wilson was among the first to politicize that tragedy by calling the deaths “Trump’s Benghazi.” Nobody interprets that as a compliment.
How Rep. Wilson alone can know the details of the October 4 reconnaissance operation sufficiently to pin blame on President Trump remains a deep mystery when the Pentagon has not finished its investigation and congressional committee chairmen are confessing their total ignorance of the Niger operation.
The behavior of Wilson’s media accomplices are even more shameful. The liberal media gleefully broadcast her accusations as a convenient means of attacking the President, so, naturally, the congresswoman has declared she is now a “rock star.” That means being invited to appear on national news programs as the Resistance’s anti-Trump heroine du jour.
Rep. Frederica Wilson is indeed the “empty barrel” hoping to make lots of noise which White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly so aptly described. First, Wilson politicized the President’s call to the grieving widow and, then, she politicized the battlefield casualties before the smoke cleared. Now, we know what it takes to be a “rock star” in Congress: find a way to blame Donald Trump for every misfortune and the media will beat a path to your door.
Yes, there will always be some politicians who put partisan advantage and cheap headlines above human decency and elemental patriotism. But, until recently, we did not have a partisan media eager to encourage and reward such ignoble values.