Widowed Army Wife Calls the President Out For Lying About Disrespecting Her & Her Family
Despite his denials, President Trump showed obvious “disrespect” during a condolence call to the family of an Army sergeant killed in Niger, the soldier’s mother said Wednesday.
Trump is facing mounting criticism for telling the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four Americans killed nearly two weeks ago, that “he knew what he signed up for...but when it happens it hurts anyway.”
Trump called Johnson’s loved ones as they drove to Miami International Airport to meet his body.
“I was in the car and I heard the full conversation,” the officer’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Associated Press. “Not only did he disrespect my son,” but he disrespected his wife and me and my husband.
The grieving mother’s account backs up that of Rep. Frederica Wilson (D- Fla.), who first exposed Trump’s insensitive comments on Tuesday.
The President responded with a defensive tweet, calling Wilson a liar and implying he had taped the call.
“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”
But Wilson did not back down from her account, adding that Trump at one point could not remember the slain sergeant’s name.
“It’s disgraceful for him to even tweet about this,” she told CNN.
What’s worse, Wilson added during an appearance on MSNBC, Trump forgot Johnson’s name during the call.
“She was in tears,” Wilson, who represents parts of northern Miami, said of Johnson’s pregnant widow, Myeshia. “She was in tears and she said he didn’t even remember his name!”
Trump, appearing at the White House during a meeting with the senate finance committee, sat with his arms folded across his chest as he again denied Wilson’s account of the call.
“Didn’t say what that congresswoman said. Didn’t say it at all. She knows it,” Trump said. “And I’d like her to make the statement again because I did not say what she said.”
The President’s recollection of the call contradicted both Wilson and Jones-Johnson’s version of events.
“I had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife who sounded like a lovely woman,” Trump said. “Did not say what the congresswoman said and most people aren’t too surprised to hear that.”
Wilson shot back moments after Trump spoke to reporters.
“I still stand by my account of the call b/t @realDonaldTrump and Myesha Johnson. That is her name, Mr. Trump. Not “the woman” or “the wife,” she tweeted.
The flare up comes as Trump faces criticism from those who say he didn’t reach out to the soldiers’ families soon enough.
Instead, Trump pointed to the death of Marine Lt. Robert Kelly, son of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who died while fighting in Afghanistan in 2010
Trump, speaking Tuesday with Fox News Radio, claimed President Obama never called Kelly, then a Marine general.
He also insinuated that past Presidents did not reach out to families of fallen soldiers as often as he has.
But The Associated Press found relatives of two soldiers who died overseas during Trump’s presidency who said they never received a call or a letter from him, as well as relatives of a third who did not get a call.
Veterans groups said they had no issues with past presidents recognizing soldiers killed in action.
“I don’t think there is any president I know of who hasn’t called families,” said Rick Weidman, co-founder and executive director of Vietnam Veterans of America.