UPDATED with video: President Donald Trump punched back at the widow of a soldier killed in Niger on Twitter this morning.
“I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from the beginning, without hesitation!” Trump tweeted this morning, less than an hour after Myeshia Johnson said otherwise in an interview with Good Morning America.
Myeshia Johnson gave her first TV interview this morning to George Stephanopoulos, saying what hurt her most when Trump called her is that he could not remember her husband’s name, and stumbled over it when he finally referenced it on the file in front of him.
La David Johnson was one of four soldiers killed in an ISIS ambush in Niger earlier this month. Trump called his widow, and family members of the other three soldiers, after being asked at a Rose Garden presser why he had yet to make any mention of the attack, nearly two weeks after it occurred. He responded, saying he intended to call the families, which is something, Trump said incorrectly, previous presidents did not do.
The storm over Trump’s call to the widow erupted when Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson blasted Trump for telling Myeshia, “I’m sure he knew what he signed up for but, when it happens, it hurts anyway.” Wilson was in the vehicle with Johnson’s pregnant wife, en route to the airport to receive her husband’s body, when the call came.
Trump had punched back then too, tweeting Wilson had “fabricated” her claim, adding, “I have proof.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there was no recording of the conversation, but called it “a disgrace for the media to try to portray an act of kindness like that, and that gesture, and try to make it into something it isn’t.”
Myeshia Johnson this morning confirmed Trump said on the call, “that he knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway.”
“It made me cry, because I was very angry at the tone of his voice, and how he said it. He couldn’t remember my husband’s name… He told me had my husband’s report on front of him. That’s when he actually said ‘La David.’ I heard him stumbling trying to remember my husband’s name. That is what hurt me the most. If my husband is fighting for our country and he risks his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name? And that was what made me upset and cry even more. Because my husband was an awesome soldier…My husband had high hopes in his military career.”
Florida Rep. Wilson was in the vehicle because of her long connection to the family, Johnson said.
“Whatever Miss Wilson said was not fabricated,” Johnson said. “What she said was 100% correct.”
Asked if she has anything to say to Trump about their phone call, she responded, “No. I don’t have nothing to say to him.”
In addition to being upset by her phone call, Johnson is angry she was not allowed to see her husband’s body when it was returned to this country.
“Every time I asked, they would not let me see him,” she told GMA‘s George Stephanopoulos. “They were telling me he is in severe wrap, like I won’t be able to see him. I need to know that is my husband. I don’t know nothing; they won’t show me a finger, a hand….They won’t let me. I don’t know what’s in that box. It could be empty, for all I know. I haven’t seen him since he came home.”