Congresswoman Says Trump Told Fallen Soldier’s Wife ‘He Knew What He Signed Up For’

Trump denies on Twitter that he made the comment to U.S. Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s widow in a phone call.

U.S. Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson, 25, was one of the four American soldiers killed on Oct. 4 in an ambush in Niger. Johnson, a native of Miami Gardens, Fla., died while providing training and security assistance to the Niger Armed Forces.

U.S. Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) was with the fallen soldier’s wife, Myeshia Johnson, on Tuesday in a limo headed to Miami International Airport to meet her husband’s remains. Johnson received a phone call at 4:45 p.m. from President Donald Trump while still in the car, ABC 10 reports. According to Wilson, who said she heard the conversation on speakerphone, Trump said of Johnson’s death, “He knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway.”

That would be an unpatriotic and unpresidential comment from Trump, who received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, and would be hypocritical as he wants NFL players fired for kneeling during the national anthem. It would be despicable if Johnson, who is pregnant and now a single mother of a 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, was told that her husband should have anticipated death.

But the death of Johnson and the three other soldiers who perished in Niger is now under investigation by the Department of Defense to examine the military’s preparation for the operation, including why the ambush by 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters wasn’t anticipated.

Cowanda Jones-Johnson, La David Johnson’s mother, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Wilson’s account was correct.

“Yes the statement is true,” Jones-Johnson said. “I was in the car and I heard the full conversation. Not only did [Trump] disrespect my son,” but he disrespected his wife and me and my husband.

In response to Wilson’s statements, Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning:

But Trump himself spreads fabricated information. For example, on Monday, when asked by the press why he had not acknowledged the four soldiers’ deaths, Trump falsely claimed that former President Barack Obama did not call the families of fallen service members. He offered no evidence to back up his claim.

“The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls. A lot of them didn’t make calls,” Trump said.

When pressed on his claim, particularly about Obama, Trump retreated.

“I don’t know if he did. No,” Trump said. “I was told that he didn’t often, and a lot of presidents don‘t. They write letters … I do a combination of both.”

Eric Holder, Obama’s former attorney general, said in a post on Twitter, “Stop the damn lying — you’re the president.”

Alyssa Mastromonaco, Obama’s former deputy chief of staff, also called it a lie.

Responding to Trump’s tweet, Wilson said Wednesday morning on CNN’s “New Day,” “I have proof, too: this man is a sick man.”

She said that Johnson’s widow “broke down” after her call with Trump, saying the president “didn’t even know his name.”

“This is a young, young woman who has two children,” Wilson told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday night, “who is six months pregnant with her third child.

“She has just lost her husband. She was just told that he cannot have an open casket funeral, which gives her all kinds of nightmares of how his body must look. [How] his face must look. And this is what the President of the United States says to her.

“There’s no reason for the president to be so insensitive … his rhetoric is disrespectful to the family of every soldier that has paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and our community is livid because this was our hero. We don’t have many heroes in our young men in Miami-Dade County, but he was a hero for us.”

Lemon asked Wilson her reaction when she heard Trump’s comment.

“I asked them to give me phone because I wanted to speak with him,” she said. “And I was gonna curse him out … I was livid. But they would not give me the phone.”

Lemon asked, “What did she say?”

Wilson said Johnson’s widow was crying and “couldn’t say anything.”

She also said other family members were in the car and are still upset “because they don’t know why [Johnson] was separated from the rest of the soldiers.”

A White House official said Tuesday, “The president’s conversations with the families of American heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private.”

The hashtag #SgtLaDavidJohnson is currently trending on Twitter. Johnson’s wife, who is in bereavement, has not yet made a public comment about Trump’s phone call.

A public viewing will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and a funeral service from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, at the Christ The Rock Church at 11000 Stirling Road in Cooper City, according to ABC 10. The internment will be at the Hollywood Memorial Gardens, at 3001 N. 72 St.

The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project has set up a scholarship to benefit Johnson’s children. Click here for more information

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  • Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

    Der Drumpfenfeuhrer was undoubtedly trying to sound all cool, brave, macho and manly about how all servicemembers know they might make the ultimate sacrifice. He failed.

    • It has to be pandering to his base of bigots, but it’s too terrible for just that alone. The only Black Green Beret to be killed and trump says this? On the same day he gets called on a lie about President Obama? It can’t be racism alone, racism and senility? Racism and personality disorder?

      Please pull your finger out of it, Mueller, before the dotard gets us killed.

      • Totally agree…….Senility along with personality disorder. His true colors are being shown here. Money cant buy class. And just because he has “blue Blood” education, does not make you educated or give you common sense. I am amazed at how low he consistently goes yet his base is beside him. what does it really say about some of our so called patriotic citizens……………..stand for the Anthem………..give me a break

        • Thinking of trump at Wharton reminds me of an episode of The Sopranos where the scene is a test room for the stock broker exam. The proctor calls out names and when he says “Christopher Moltisanti”, an Asian guy turns and says “here”.

          • CHARITY DELL

            LUKE–I already dun TOLD you–Trump literally “just went” to Wharton.
            He ain’t had no time for them bizniss classes, because he was making money bigly.
            He didn’t get no MBA, and ain’t tried to get one since he graj-u-mated back in 1968.
            That’s what it is iz.

    • Add to the list his contempt for: Gold Star families, women, POWs, Obama, Mexicans, Muslims, etc. The list is seemingly endless. He is totally devoid of empathy for anyone but himself.


        EMM–He don’t read no books, and he didn’t read any at Wharton.
        He just done went there, is all.
        That’s how kum he don’t be knowing anything about them Meksikins and such.
        All he knowz is, if it ain’t wite, it ain’t rite.
        That’s what it iz.

  • Corinne Jones

    When an intelligent person does not know what to say but is required to say something, (especially on the telephone), they write it down and read it. A few things are wrong here. First that man is not intelligent, second he never knows what to say and third, I don’t think he can read. It doesn’t matter what he intended by what he said. It was not the appropriate thing to say. I pray Congresswoman Wilson calls him out and proves what he said so he can be confirmed again as the worst person in the office of the president in the history of the US. He is tasteless, ignorant and lacking in moral sense. I consider him to be the “Peter Principle” personified: he doesn’t know that he doesn’t know.

    • Exactly. A simple ” On behalf of the US, I want to express our condolences for your loss. We appreciate the ultimate sacrifice your husband made for our country” then close with: “You and your family are in this nation’s thoughts and prayers”. How hard would that have been. He has no ability to connect or empathize with anyone outside of his race, gender and socio-economic class.


      CORINNE–If you don’t read nuthin, and never dun red nuthin,
      you don’t know nuthin. That means that the elevator was
      never installed. Ain’t no top floor to go to, nor means to get there.
      He just up there at Da Wite House, bigly.

  • I’m thinking Trump needs to designate the role of Consoler-in-Chief to someone — anyone — capable of at least adequately doing the job.

      • Kellyann? I think one of the Generals should be chosen to take on this responsibility. Since T-rump The Russian wants to start his own war and none of the Republicans (except for 1) or Democrats, are trying to stop him, the chosen general will be making lots of phone calls. Sad, but changes the conversation from the Muller Russian Probe.

        • I was joking about Kellyanne. However, I am concerned at the number of senior military officers at the top of this government. Our nation was founded with the foundational principle of civilian control over the military. A civilian should be calling the families of dead service people on behalf of the executive branch of the government. I think we can all agree that 45 cannot be trusted with this duty.

          • Yeah, I know you were kidding about Kellyanne (Ms. Alternate Universe). It is strange that T-rump the Draft Dodger would put so many Generals in charge. I think it makes him feel safe at night knowing so many Generals are around him.

          • I understand how he got surrounded by Goldman Sachs people, Wilbur Ross and Rex Tillerson (Koch Brothers), but where did DeVos and her brother the founder of mercinary company Blackwater come in? Just money?

            Is that the connection to the generals? Like all of the above, I cannot believe any have respect for the friendless draft dodger pussy grabber. Think about it – there were no old friends at his convention telling us what a great guy he’s been since they knew him in grade school- nothing. Nobody likes him, he only has people around him sucking up to his inherited money wealth. Pictures? Yeah, fake Time magazine covers. Awards? Sure, bogus plaques about made-up civil war battles. He’s a fiction of his own invention, complete with a made-up family crest. Stolen valor and lies, lies, lies. A guy who had to invoke the fifth amendment 97 times during the deposition for his second divorce. A world-class creep, propped up by morally bankrupt Republicans, their Koch benefactors, Russian kleptocrats and gay-bashing ‘Christians’ and their neo-nazi running dogs.

            So what’s really going on?

          • Luke, in reply to your input below, I think the Generals all agreed to work with the POTUS from fear of what he would turn the military into/demand the military to do if they weren’t there. I think it could be even more scary if the Generals were not there……

  • When the president of a country disrespects his citizens, military, administration, predecessor, media, political party, and on and on, there’s no way it can end well for him. Just hoping the end comes very soon!

      • What do you appreciate that racist charlatan for? Advocacy of white supremacy? Raping Puerto Rico? Opening up federal lands for the billionaires to despoil? Instigating war? Building the wall? Repeal and replace? Tax cuts?

        What exactly?

        It is offensive to put that draft dodger in the same sentence as a soldier.

      • I appreciate real leadership, I appreciate honesty, I appreciate ownership, etc. none of the qualities and or competencies trump has. I hope you appreciate being on the losing team, as trump will be there soon.

  • I guess what I also find disturbing about him being killed is that he was left behind when the remaining members of his team were rescued.

    I guess the no man behind saying was out the window.

    • They went back and got him. However, there are many questions about what actually happened. I’m glad Senator McCain — and others — are demanding more information.

  • More attacks directed at President Trump. This Soldier was a volunteer not draftee. In essence he knew the dangers of the branch he was entering. Sorry for the Soldier and his family. Remember Pat Tillman who walked away from a lucrative NFL career and opted for fighting in Afghanistan right after 9-11 and many more who knew the dangers. I thank them for their sacrifice, may they all rest in peace.

    • That soldier did know what he was signing up for, but that doesn’t make it ok for the POTUS to say something like that to the soldier’s wife who was distraught and in need of consoling; It screams of victim blaming.

      • The lack of empathy has everything to do with him being Black. It’s pandering to his base, and retribution for Black voters voting in the same percentage as they did for Romney (which must be remarkably similar to the percentage of people who forget to bring the glasses to the voting booth).

        It smacks of the same racism trump is using against those “spoiled rich football players.”

  • I honestly but not for certain think Trump’s initial actions of calling the widow and conducting the conversation wasn’t based on race. I see President Trump looking at the interaction with the widow as just something to do, put as minimum effort as possible and then move on. So following this logic if it’s true or with some elements of truth, I think he doesn’t really think much about public servants and regular people in general. More class as an elitist than racial. So not knowing the NCO’s name, I think was the root cause.

    What transpired after the incident, I think was racial and became racist when the Black Congressman and widow spoke up and out against President Trump.

    But initially I don’t think this issue began based on race.

    • Perhaps not, but that is how it was perceived. The perception is based on reality of white supremacist support, demeaning meetings with Black leaders, Referring to Black neighborhoods as “hellholes”, “what do you have to lose”, and “Chicago” as a bigoted euphemism for “out of control” Black behavior.

      I think he did it on purpose as a dog whistle to his base. If a Muslim soldier killed, we can expect the same kind of nonsense.

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