When Rep. Frederica Wilson accused President Donald Trump of making an insensitive call to the pregnant widow of a fallen US soldier, she initiated a back-and-forth between herself and the president, but it was not the first time she has challenged him in public.
Even since before Trump was inaugurated, the Florida Democrat has frequently come out swinging against the president and his policy positions.
Here’s who she is and how she found herself in the crosshairs of Trump’s Twitter fingers:
Wilson is known for her strong positions on immigration, Zika relief funding, and African-American issues. She also wears flamboyant cowboy hats every day in honor of her grandfather.
Wilson was elected to Congress in 2010 and gave an impassioned speech following the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 in her district, calling for an end to the killing of young black men.
Wilson went on to champion causes like federal Zika funding for southern Florida, and has been described as “accomplished, energetic, and stylish.”
Following Donald Trump’s election, Wilson told reporters she would not be attending his inauguration. Although she said she was attending a wedding that day, she joined almost 70 other Democrats who said they would not be present.
After he became president, Wilson translated her dissatisfaction with Trump into disagreement with the vast majority of his policy positions.
Data website FiveThirtyEight.com ran the numbers and showed that Wilson has only voted with Trump 15.6% of the time.
Shortly after his inauguration, Trump announced the first version of his travel ban, which was aimed at seven majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East. Wilson was quick to voice her opposition to the executive order.
- Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
“The ban on immigrants from seven predominately Muslim nations is shortsighted,” Wilson wrote on Facebook on January 29. “America must not become an isolationist country. We must strive to be as open and welcoming to immigrants as we always have been.”
She also decried Trump’s position on immigration in general in the same post.
Wilson again lashed out at Trump over his policy on deportations, saying it “betray[ed] American values.”
- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
“The administration’s directive to expand deportations allegedly aims to make our communities safe. It will in fact achieve the opposite while simultaneously weakening the nation’s economy and betraying our American values,” Wilson’s February statement on mass deportations read. “The trust we’ve worked so hard to build between immigrants and law enforcement will quickly erode.”
She has also directly accused Trump of being mentally ill.
“I believe that the president is desperate for attention and needs psychological help,” Wilson said in a statement in May after The Washington Post reported that Trump had shared classified information with Russians in the White House.