White House chief of staff John Kelly — a retired Marine four-star general whose own son died in Afghanistan — made another surprise appearance at the White House press briefing on Thursday, attempting to quell the controversy around a phone call President Trump made to a grieving military widow.

"It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation," Kelly said of Rep. Frederica Wilson. The Florida Democratic congresswoman said she overheard the call on speakerphone while traveling with Myeshia Johnson, the wife of Sgt. La David Johnson who was killed in Niger earlier this month. Wilson criticized the president for telling Johnson that her husband "must have known what he signed up for."

The fallen soldier's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, also told the Washington Post, "President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband" with his comments they perceived as insensitive.

Trump called the account of the phone call "totally fabricated."

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