War of words: Trump denies telling Special Forces soldier’s widow in speakerphone call to family that her husband ‘knew what he signed up for’ – as congresswoman who heard it says president ‘has a brain disorder’ and didn’t even know slain man’s name
- Donald Trump called the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson on Tuesday afternoon
- Myeshia Johnson was on her way to Miami airport where her husband’s remains were arriving when she took the president’s call
- Rep. Frederica Wilson said she was sitting beside the grieving widow when Trump said on speakerphone that the slain solider ‘knew what he signed up for’
- The widow ‘was in tears. And she said, “He didn’t even remember his name!”‘
- Heartbreaking footage later showed Johnson, who is pregnant with the couple’s third child, sobbing over her husband’s flag-draped coffin
- Trump denied saying that, tweeting on Wednesday morning that that the ‘Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said … (and I have proof)’
- ‘Yes, he said it,’ Wilson told WPLG; ‘It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it’
- Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan was also in the car and backed up Wilson’s version of the call in an MSNBC interview, as did Johnson’s mother
- Wilson said Wednesday on CNN: ‘This gentleman has a brain disorder, and he needs to be checked out. … We should be praising his family, not insulting them’
- A GoFundMe page set up for Johnson’s three children’s college funds has already raised more than $300,000 in one day
President Donald Trump has come under fire for his ‘insensitive’ choice of words when speaking to the pregnant widow of one of the four U.S. Special Forces soldiers killed in Niger.
Trump phoned Myeshia Johnson on Tuesday afternoon to give his condolences over the death of her husband Sgt. La David Johnson, according to Rep. Frederica Wilson.
During the five minute call, Wilson said, Trump told Johnson that her 25-year-old husband ‘knew what he signed up for… but when it happens it hurts anyway.’
The remark – delivered with a car full of people listening on speakerphone – drew instant condemnation, but Trump said Wednesday morning that it was entirely made up.
‘Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!’ the president tweeted.
A White House spokesperson did not respond to a question Wednesday morning about what Trump’s evidence consists of.
Wilson fired back quickly on CNN, citing several people in the car who were aware of Trump’s remarks and saying: ‘This gentleman has a brain disorder, and he needs to be checked out. … We should be praising his family, not insulting them.’
Johnson, who is expecting the couple’s third baby in January, later sobbed as she leaned over her husband’s coffin
‘I have no reason to lie about the President of the United States,’ Wilson insisted, citing ‘her aunt, her uncle, my press person, the driver [and] the master sergeant’ as people who heard Trump speak.
She said Trump ‘should be asking for an apology, and asking, giving her some empathy and love, and wrapping his arms around this family … instead of calling me a liar and claiming everyone else in the car is a liar.’
‘We’re grieving! This is a grieving community!’ Wilson exclaimed. ‘It is disgraceful for him to even tweet about this.’
Wilson had said she was sitting beside the grieving widow when she took the call, while they were on their way to Miami International Airport where Johnson’s remains were arriving on a commercial flight.
On MSNBC, she said that the call ‘was horrible. It was insensitive. It was absolutely crazy. Unnecessary. I was livid!’
And the widow Mrs. Johnson, she recalled, ‘was in tears. And she said, “He didn’t even remember his name!”‘
‘Yes, he said it,’ Wilson had told WPLG on Tuesday evening.
‘It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it.’
Also travelling in the car to the airport on Tuesday was Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who said she was shocked by what she heard.
‘What the family wants to hear is words of encouragement, words of how he fought for his country, what his sacrifice meant for this country … not, “You know what you signed up for”,’ she said on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ program.
Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post that she heard Trump’s words, and that ‘President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter, and also me and my husband.’
Asked if Wilson’s recollection of the call was accurate, she replied: ‘Yes.’
Heartbreaking footage later showed Johnson, who is expecting the couple’s third baby in January, sobbing as she leaned over her husband’s flag-draped coffin.
The couple’s six-year-old daughter stood by the coffin with her mother, while their two-year-old son waited in the arms of a relative standing nearby.
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton reacted on Twitter to news of Trump’s phone call saying: ‘Mrs Johnson, I cannot begin to imagine your loss. Your family & all who mourn Sgt. Johnson are in my prayers & those of countless Americans.’
rump on Tuesday called the families of the four US troops who were killed in Niger nearly two weeks ago.
It came a day after he said he would call them at the ‘appropriate time’ when questioned about his public silence.
‘President Trump spoke to all four of the families of those who were killed in action in Niger,’ White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement late Tuesday.
‘He offered condolences on behalf of a grateful nation and assured them their family’s extraordinary sacrifice to the country will never be forgotten.’
Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright and Sgt. La David Johnson were all killed when militants thought to be affiliated with the Islamic State group ambushed them while they were patrolling in unarmored trucks with Niger troops.