By Eileen Sullivan
WASHINGTON – President Trump has denied a congresswoman’s account that he told a grieving soldier’s widow in a phone call that the soldier “knew what he signed up for,” saying on Wednesday that the Democratic representative’s description was “totally fabricated.”
Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., recounted details of Trump’s call with Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s widow. On Tuesday, Wilson was in the car with the widow, Myeshia Johnson, and said she overheard the phone call from the president, who was on speakerphone. Sgt. Johnson, a Green Beret, was killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month that killed three other soldiers and injured two.
Wilson said that during the call, the president told Myeshia Johnson “something to the fact that he knew what he was getting into when he signed up,” the congresswoman said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday.
“But that’s not the worst part,” Wilson said. “She was crying the whole time and when she hung up the phone she looked at me and said ‘he didn’t even remember his name.’ That’s the hurting part.”
Trump’s comments were the latest in a series of remarks he made this week drawing attention to grieving families of fallen solders.
Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday and disputed the account.
“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”
Trump did not say what proof he had.
Sgt. Johnson, 25, was from Miami Gardens, Fla., the Defense Department said. He and Myeshia Johnson had two children, and she is pregnant. The Pentagon has launched an investigation into the ambush in Niger.
Trump has said very little about the Niger episode. When he was asked by a reporter about this on Monday, he responded by saying he had written letters to the soldiers’ families. Trump compared his actions to past presidents and said past presidents have not always contacted families of those killed in action.
Trump singled out former President Barack Obama, saying he had not made such calls, an assertion that quickly drew angry rebukes from former Obama aides.