Representative Wilson Returns to Washington After Death Threats

Rep. Frederica Wilson at a 2012 Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) briefing. (Unmodified Creative Commons photo by HAWG.

On the evening of October 31, Representative Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., and her famous rhinestone hats returned to Washington D.C. to vote for the first time in Congress since being forced to spend a week at home due to death threats.  

The threats were in response to an argument with President Trump over his phone conversation with the widow of slain soldier Sgt. La David Johnson. The feud between the two began when Wilson told media sources that Trump had informed Myeisha Johnson that her husband, who was killed in an ambush in Niger on October 4, “knew what he was getting into” and referred to him as “your guy” rather than using his name.

Trump resorted to Twitter, attacking Wilson for listening in on the call.

Johnson’s widow later confirmed Wilson’s statements about the call.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly joined in on the feud with his statements to the White House press corps on October 19. Kelly made a personal attack against Wilson without directly naming her; he spoke about a congresswoman who bragged about securing the funding for an FBI field office in Miami during its 2015 dedication.

Despite this allegation, a Sun-Sentinel video of the dedication ceremony for the FBI field office showed that Wilson had not taken credit for its funding.

When asked if he would apologize to Wilson for the lie, Kelly said “never,” adding, “I stand by my comments.”

Following Trump’s tweet and Kelly’s comments, racist threats against Wilson began to surface on the internet.

A Facebook post by a Chicago area man called her a “disgusting pig” and his post contained the intention to lynch the congresswoman. Illinois police have reportedly begun investigating the man in question.  

In response to the threats, Wilson decided to return to her South Florida home where she spent the week under increased security. Between Monday, October 23 and Wednesday, October 25, she missed 19 votes in Congress.

In her absence, Wilson received substantial support from Democrats in Congress. Several of them wore red in session on October 25 to honor Wilson and her efforts to bring back the missing Nigerian girls who were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014. They posed for group pictures and wore stickers bearing red cowboy hats and “#IStandWithFrederica.”

When Wilson officially returned to the Capitol on November 1, she was greeted with a standing ovation during at a  Democratic caucus. Wilson was quoted as being “happy to be back” and was appreciative of the support from her fellow representatives. Additionally, the congresswoman said she does not plan to stop criticizing the White House as a result of the recent events.

While Wilson maintains her additional security at her Florida home, Capitol Hill police would not comment on security measures at the Capitol.

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