The White House has said it is “highly inappropriate” for the media to question a four-star general like White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
“If you wanna go after General Kelly, that’s up to you, but I think that if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that’s something highly inappropriate,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
She and others in the Trump White House refer to Mr Kelly by his military title, but he is not serving in a military capacity as he is in his role as Chief of Staff.
She was speaking during the daily news briefing and was asked about Mr Kelly’s claims yesterday regarding Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.
Huckabee doubles down on the lies and says it's "highly inappropriate" to disagree with a Marine 4 Star General. pic.twitter.com/OiVHSeHP1d— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 20, 2017
Controversy was sparked when Mr Trump reportedly called the pregnant widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger, Sergeant La David T Johnson, and said: “You know, he must’ve known what he signed up for.”
The details of the conversation between the President and Myeshia Johnson were revealed by Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson on CNN.
Ms Wilson said: “When [Ms Johnson] got off the phone, she said, ‘He didn’t even know his name. He kept calling him, ‘Your guy.’”
Mr Trump vehemently denied the Congresswoman’s interpretation of the conversation.
Mr Trump also went on Fox News Radio and said “to the best of my knowledge, I think I’ve called every family of somebody that’s died, and it’s the hardest call to make ... As far as other representatives, I don’t know, I mean you could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?”
He was referring to when White House Chief of Staff and retired Marines General John Kelly’s son Robert, a Marine Second Lieutenant, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.
Yesterday, Mr Kelly addressed the flurry of controversy.
He said he had advised the President to say Mr Johnson “was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew he was getting into by joining that one per cent.”
The former Homeland Security chief also referenced a 2015 speech by Ms Wilson.
Calling her an “empty barrel,” Mr Kelly said the Congresswoman had made a new FBI building in Miami, Florida about her rather than the two agents for whom the building had been named.
He said he was “stunned” she took credit for securing “$20m” in funds for the building construction.
As CNN reported she took credit “for shepherding legislation naming the FBI building after two FBI agents who were killed in a 1986 gunfight, she did not claim credit for helping to fund the building, according to the video.”
Ms Sanders said Mr Kelly Sanders stands by his claims about Ms Wilson.
She also said the Congresswoman “had quite a few comments that day that weren't part of that speech and weren't part of that video that were also witnessed by many people that were there — what Gen. Kelly referenced yesterday.”
However, she did not provide any proof of exactly what else Ms Wilson allegedly said that day.