President Donald Trump in a tweet Wednesday denied that he had told the widow of a soldier killed in an ambush in African this month that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”
“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017”
The president was reacting to a Florida congresswoman saying the family of Sgt. La David T. Johnson was “astonished” by that remark during a phone call from Trump on Tuesday.
Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D, told NBC Miami that she heard the comment Trump made to Johnson’s widow, Myeshia, through a speaker phone.
“He said, ‘But you know, he must have known what he signed up for,'” Wilson said. She said the president made that comment more than once during the three- to five-minute call.
“Everyone knows when you go to war you could possibly not come back alive, but you don’t remind a grieving widow of that,” said Wilson. “That’s so insensitive.”
The White House had said Tuesday that Trump placed calls to the families of all four service members killed in Niger on Oct. 4. The calls followed Trump’s claims Monday and Tuesday that his Democratic predecessor, former president Barack Obama, had not often made such calls to families. Former Obama administration officials strongly dispute that claim, saying Obama engaged families of fallen service members in various ways throughout his presidency.
Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, was found dead after initially being reported as missing after the attack.
He was a driver assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Anne Gearan