Trump says congresswoman ‘totally fabricated’ his comments, claims he has ‘proof’ but offers none
The mother of a U.S. sergeant killed in Niger said on Wednesday when U.S. President Donald Trump called the family to offer his condolences, he showed “disrespect” to the soldier’s loved ones as they drove to the airport to meet his body.
Trump has since strongly disputed that account.
Sgt. La David Johnson was one of four American military personnel killed nearly two weeks ago whose families had not heard from Trump. But on Tuesday, Rep. Frederica Wilson said Trump phoned the widow saying Johnson, “knew what he signed up for…but when it happens it hurts.”
Trump took to Twitter Wednesday and said the remarks were fabricated and he has proof.
And in a White House meeting on tax overhaul, Trump said that he “didn’t say what that congresswoman said, didn’t say it at all. She knows it.”
The Florida Democrat said she was in the car with the widow, Myeshia Johnson, on the way to Miami International Airport to meet the body when Trump called. La David Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the congresswoman’s account was correct.
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“Yes the statement is true,” Jones-Johnson said. “I was in the car and I heard the full conversation.
After the call was made, his widow, Myeshia Johnson told ABC News, “It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it.”
Wilson took to Twitter Wednesday to defend her statement and said she wasn’t the only one who heard the remarks.
“If you are the leader of the free world, if you are president of the United States and you want to convey sympathy to a grieving family, a grieving widow, you choose your words carefully,” Wilson told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “And everyone knows that Donald Trump does not choose his words carefully.”
“She was crying for the whole time,” Wilson said of the widow. “And the worst part of it: when he hung up you know what she turned to me and said? She said he didn’t even remember his name.”
Johnson’s Special Forces group was assisting Nigeriens on how to deal with terrorism and terrorist groups, according to U.S. military officials.
Trumps says he calls fallen soldier’s families
Earlier this week, Trump told reporters that “I think I’ve called every family of someone who’s died,” though that claim was disputed by the Associated Press.
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He then claimed that other presidents, like Barack Obama, hadn’t reached out to all the families of Americans killed in action.
Trump’s posture has been defensive in recent days after he was criticized for not reaching out right away to relatives of the soldiers killed in Niger. On Monday, Trump said he’d written letters that hadn’t yet been mailed; his aides said they had been awaiting information on the soldiers before proceeding.
— With files from the Associated Press
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