President Donald Trump told the grieving widow of a U.S. soldier killed in an ambush two weeks ago that “he knew what he signed up for” during a short call expressing his condolences, a Democratic U.S. congresswoman says.
U.S. Rep Frederica Wilson told reporters on Tuesday that Trump called Myeshia Johnson on Tuesday and said her husband Sgt. La David T. Johnson “knew what he signed up for… but when it happens it hurts anyway.”
Trump’s 5-minute call came as Johnson was on her way to Miami International Airport – just before her husband’s body arrived from overseas, said Wilson, who was accompanying the family. Wilson said she overheard the conversation.
“I think it’s so insensitive. It’s crazy. Why do you need to say that?” Wilson told the Miami Herald. “You don’t say that to someone who lost family, the father, the breadwinner. You can say, ‘I’m so sorry for your loss. He’s a hero.’ ”
Wilson continued, “I’m livid. He can’t even have an open-coffin funeral because his body is so messed up.”
Myeshia Johnson is pregnant with the couple’s third child and is due in January. They share a 2-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter.
Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to deny Wilson’s version of events, claiming he could prove he didn’t say those words to the widow.
“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof),” he wrote. “Sad!”
This is the latest development in Trump’s nasty political fight over paying respects to the families of fallen servicemen and woman.
On Monday, Trump was asked about why he hadn’t spoken publicly about the deaths of four U.S. soldiers who were ambushed and killed by ISIS-backed fighters in Niger on Oct. 4.
“When my brother was killed, Pres [George W.] Bush listened while I screamed at him & then held me as I sobbed, you fat f—–g liar,” Delilia O’Malley tweeted on Monday.
Trump responded by dragging the slain son of Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general, into the fray. Robert Michael Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan and John Kelly has been reluctant to speak about his death.
In an interview on Tuesday, Trump claimed that Obama didn’t call Kelly when his son was killed. However, the Washington Post reports that Kelly was a guest at First Lady Michelle Obama’s table during a 2011 breakfast for the families of slain servicemen.
On Monday, Myeshia Johnson threw herself over her husband’s casket as she began to sob uncontrollably, according to Local 10 News. Their daughter stood by her mother, standing stoically and with her head held tall. Her baby brother was in the arms of a relative according to the outlet.
Local politicians, police officers and firefighters stood in silence, lining up to honor Johnson for his service. Local 10 News reports Johnson was a former Walmart employee who joined the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
As news broke of Trump’s alleged response to the widow many took to Twitter to express their sadness and outrage.
One of those was television host Montel Williams who Tweeted: “There is a special place in hell for people like [President Trump] who disrespect the widow of a fallen hero.”
While she did not criticize Trump, Chelsea Clinton paid tribute to the fallen soldier and shared a GoFundMe page created to help pay for his children’s education.
“Mrs. Johnson, I cannot begin to imagine your loss. Your family & all who mourn Sgt. Johnson are in my prayers & those of countless Americans,” Clinton tweeted.