Frederica Wilson Calls Kelly's 'Empty Barrel' Comment Racist

October 20, 2017

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D., Fla.) said Friday that White House chief of staff John Kelly's comparison of the congresswoman's behavior to that of an "empty barrel" was racist.

CNN's Alisyn Camerota asked Wilson about Kelly's comments regarding her criticisms of President Donald Trump and his phone call with the widow of a fallen soldier.

Wilson said she had heard Kelly's comments during a White House press briefing on Thursday and said much of what he said was a lie.

"He can't just go on tv and lie on me," Wilson said.

Camerota referenced Kelly's criticism that "empty barrels make the most noise" and Wilson interrupted the host to claim the comment was racist.

"Okay, that's a racist term too. I'm thinking about that one," Wilson said. "We looked it up in the dictionary because I had never heard of an empty barrel and I don't like to be dragged into something like that."

Wilson did not explain how the phrase "empty barrels make the most noise" is racist. The idiom is in fact used to question the (empty) thought behind a person's words (noise). Simply as a fact of physics, a barrel or vessel will produce the most noise when empty and disturbed.

During the interview, Wilson proceed to discuss the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls in reference to girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, a project she also referenced immediately following Trump's phone call will the fallen soldier's widow. Wilson has routinely claimed she has no interest or intention of politicizing the death of Sgt. La David Johnson, while often using the media attention to discuss her political projects and political views. Her anti-Trump stance has led to a historically confrontation approach against the president, according to Business Insider.

Wilson later called the fallen soldier, "my son."

Immediately following Thursday's press briefing, Wilson told a reporter on Capitol Hill that Kelly was trying to "keep his job," and would "say anything."