He couldn't remember his name. He told her, well, he knew what he signed up for, and the following day she became the wife and the woman, still no names.
Moreover, he categorically denied the entire conversation and claimed that John Kelly was in the room and he could corroborate his account.
Enter John Kelly, a four star Marine Corps general and Trump's chief of staff.
He never denied what the conversation entailed, instead he attacked viciously the South Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who went public with the content of the call.
He first savaged her for eavesdropping on a private conversation. He said that she violated the sanctity of a private phone call. The problem is that, she was in the car and the call was on speakerphone.
And Kelly was also doing the same violating himself at the other end.
He then maintained that she was a self-aggrandizing empty barrel who took credit for the funding of an FBI building while she was in Congress. Here is what he actually said:
A congresswoman stood up, and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call he gave the money—the twenty million dollars— to build the building. And she sat down, and we were stunned. Stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned. But, you know, none of us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and were appalled. We just said, “O.K., fine.”It turns out she never said any of these things and she praised John Boehner and other colleagues for shepherding the legislation in record time. And she spend the bulk of her speech praising FBI agents.
You can see it for yourself.
This is a shorter version, here is a link to the full 9 minutes.
Not only did she not claim credit for the funding, the authorization took place in 2009 when she was not even in Congress.
Kelly also added that he was so shaken by Representative Wilson's remarks he had to stroll through Arlington Cemetery for an hour to get over his anger.
In other words, as one journalist put it "he metaphorically dug up every body in Arlington National Cemetery to use them as human shields for Trump."
In short, the four-star Marine Corps general lied through his teeth. Nothing he claimed in his brief address was true.
And you know the funny thing, nobody dared to call him a liar. The Intercept is the only media outlet that I could find to use the L word.
Rachel Maddow at MSNBC did use the word as well.
In the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza presented it as one of the moral dangers of working for Trump.
NBC stated that Wilson said Kelly lied. It was a case of she said, he said.
Sun Sentinel that uploaded the video used "Kelly got it wrong" as its headline.
CNN reported that "Kelly erroneously claimed congresswoman took credit for building funding, video shows."
New York Times: After Video Refutes Kelly’s Charges, Congresswoman Raises Issue of Race.
Washington Post: What John Kelly got wrong about Rep. Frederica Wilson and the Johnson family.
And the White House stood by his account, video clips be damned.
Moreover, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary made a veiled threat about the advisability of questioning a general.
When asked about Kelly's inaccurate claims she said:
“If you want to go after General Kelly, that’s up to you,” she said. “But I think that that—if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that’s something highly inappropriate.”That's the kind of threat one used to hear in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq or South America.
Add this to the media's reluctance to call a lying general a liar and you see the level of militarization of civilian discourse in America.