NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - The war of words continues at the White House and it all focuses on the treatment or mistreatment of the fallen.
"If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that's something highly inappropriate," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. "As General Kelly pointed out, if you're able to make a sacred act, like honoring American heroes, all about yourself, you're an empty barrel. If you don't understand that reference, I'll put it a little more simply, as we say in the South, 'All hat, no cattle.'"
Chief of Staff John Kelly on Thursday gave a deeply personal account of the aftermath of the death of his son, Robert, a Marine lieutenant who died in combat in 2010. By the end, Kelly issued a stunning rebuke of Florida Rep. Fredrica Wilson and her claims that President Trump was insensitive when he called the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four members of the Special Forces killed in Niger two weeks ago.
"It stuns me that a member of Congress would've listened in on that conversation," Kelly said. "Absolutely stuns me."
Wilson responded on Friday.
"Let me tell you what my mother told me… 'The dog can bark at the moon all night long but it doesn't become an issue until the moon barks back,'" she said.
Lost in the back and forth is the real story of what happened to those four brave men. All that is known right now is that the team was ambushed after meeting with Nigerien village elders.
Under the threat of a subpoena for information, Secretary of Defense James Mattis appeared on Capitol Hill on Friday to meet with top GOP lawmakers.
"I felt that not getting a sufficient amount of information and we are clearing a lot of that up now," Sen. John McCain of Arizona said.
"This war is getting hot in places where it's been cool," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said.
Mattis said the attack is still under investigation and that the Pentagon has sent an officer to Niger to probe what happened.