Congress

Sorority sisters rally around Frederica Wilson in feud with Trump

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., talked to reporters last week in Miami Gardens, Fla. Wilson is standing by her statement that President Donald Trump told Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson killed in an ambush in Niger, that her husband "knew what he signed up for." In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump said Wilson's description of the call was "fabricated."
Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., talked to reporters last week in Miami Gardens, Fla. Wilson is standing by her statement that President Donald Trump told Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson killed in an ambush in Niger, that her husband "knew what he signed up for." In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump said Wilson's description of the call was "fabricated." AP

President Donald Trump has earned the ire of yet another black grassroots group thanks to his rhetorical attacks on Rep. Frederica Wilson, one of an historic black sorority’s most prominent members.

Alpha Kappa Alpha, the nation’s oldest Greek-lettered sorority founded by black college women, recently launched an effort to show support for Wilson, who’s been feuding with Trump for days over his handling of a phone call to the widow of a U.S. soldier.

The latest blow is another chapter in what's been an ongoing battle between the president and the black community.

Wilson has come under heavy criticism from Trump and his backers. She skipped coming to Washington this week due to ongoing threats against her after she bashed Trump for his handling of a conversation with the family of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed during an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger.

"When what should have been a phone call by President Trump to express condolences to the widow of Sgt. Johnson concluded with the family feeling disrespected, Alpha Kappa Alpha member and Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson expressed her distaste for the president’s choice of words,” read the statement to the sorority’s 290,000 members, a copy of which was obtained by McClatchy.

"She is now undergoing a virulent attack after she revealed comments made by President Trump to the widow…," the statement said. "This lawmaker, educator, and advocate has been there for so many. Sorors, let us be there for her."

The Miami Gardens Representative addressed the issue while attending at a hearing she organized to get expert opinions on what needs to change to protect frail and dependent people in the future. Mental health, emergency operations, fire rescue an

Wilson, who pledged AKA while an undergraduate at Fisk University, is a leader in the sorority, having served as its South Atlantic Regional director.

Alpha Kappa Alpha is the latest black sorority or fraternity to defend one of their own against Trump’s broadsides and exert its influence in Washington.

In June 2016 , members of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity huddled around U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel after Trump said he should recuse himself from the Trump University lawsuit he was presiding over because he is "of Mexican heritage."

"I’m building a wall," Trump said in a Wall Street Journal interview, referring to his campaign promise to build a giant wall along the border with Mexico. Curiel’s involvement is his case, Trump said, was “an inherent conflict of interest."

Curiel joined the 150,000-member Kappa Alpha Psi in 1974 when he was an undergraduate student at Indiana University Bloomington, the campus where the fraternity was founded in 1911. He went on to become a charter member of the university’s alumni chapter of the fraternity.

"Several of us have reached out to other Kappas to point out that it now gives us two reasons to be upset with Donald Trump," Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., a fraternity member, told McClatchy in 2016. "The fact that he referred to him as Mexican and the fact that he is our fraternity brother."

In 2015, Delta Sigma Theta, a 250,000-member black sorority, challenged Republican opposition to then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch for attorney general.

Sorority members showed up at confirmation proceedings in their signature red and white colors, Chapters organized phone banks to contact Republicans who were leaning against supporting their sorority sister.

The Senate gallery was full of red-clad Deltas the day of her confirmation vote. Ten female House members of the Congressional Black Caucus including Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, a former Delta national president, paid a rare visit to the Senate floor to witness the confirmation vote.  

William Douglas: 202-383-6026, @williamgdouglas

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