Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) tore into chief of staff John Kelly over his handling of the domestic abuse allegations against former White House aide Rob Porter, saying she’s “not surprised” that Kelly lied about knowing about the claims.
“I never have believed Kelly,” Waters said on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes” on Tuesday. “Don’t forget, he is the one who lied on a congresswoman and said that she was an empty barrel.”
“And then supposedly quoted about what she had said only to be found to have lied when the video was shown about her speech that day. And he has refused to apologize so he has no credibility,” she continued.
Waters was referencing Kelly’s past comments about Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), whom he called an “empty barrel” and slammed for allegedly taking credit for securing “$20 million” in funds for an FBI building. Video of the speech Kelly was referencing disproved his claim.
Kelly and Wilson also previously clashed over how President Trumphandled the death of a U.S. soldier. Wilson shared that she was with the soldier’s widow when Trump told her Sgt. La David Johnson “knew what he was getting into.”
Kelly criticized Wilson for listening in and then sharing the conversation. Wilson then said Kelly was a “puppet of the president” and owed her an apology.
Waters said the White House has been trying to cover up their handling of the allegations against Porter.
“The distortions, the confusion, the chaos, it is pathetic,” Waters, a fierce critic of the Trump administration, said.
“And of course they are all being revealed in what is an attempted cover-up, it is all coming out despite the fact they all tried to tell different stories about when they knew about Porter, what they thought once they learned about the fact that he’s a wife beater,” she continued.
The White House and Kelly are facing intense scrutiny over whether or not officials knew about the domestic abuse allegations against Porter.
FBI Director Christopher Wray contradicted the White House’s timeline of events during a Senate hearing Tuesday, saying that the bureau had completed its investigation in July. He said the White House had requested a follow-up report in November.
Kelly, who was reportedly considering promoting Porter, initially defended the former staff secretary. However, he shifted his tone after more details of the alleged abuse emerged, including photos showing Porter’s first wife with a black eye.
Kelly later said he was “shocked by the new allegations”