President Donald Trump accused a Miami-Dade Democratic congresswoman Wednesday morning of lying about his response to a fallen soldier’s widow — that “he knew what he signed up for” — and said he had proof of the conversation.
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, who represents Miami Gardens, “totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action,” he wrote. “Sad!”
After Trump’s tweet Wednesday morning, the congresswoman told CNN that other people in the car, including the driver, her press person, the master sergeant and the widow’s aunt and uncle had also heard the conversation.
Trump should be acting presidential “instead of calling me a liar and calling everyone else in the car a liar,” she said. “He doesn’t even know how to sympathize with people.”
Wilson told the Herald on Tuesday that she heard a call on speakerphone from Trump to the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, the soldier and father who was killed in Niger whose body was returned home that afternoon.
Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant and mother to Johnson’s two children, took Trump’s call at 4:45 p.m., just before Johnson’s body arrived at Miami International Airport.
As she was in a car heading to the airport with her family with Wilson, Trump told Johnson’s widow that “he knew what he signed up for … but when it happens it hurts anyway,” Wilson said.
“I think it’s so insensitive. It’s crazy. Why do you need to say that?’’ Wilson asked. “You don’t say that to someone who lost family, the father, the breadwinner. You can say, ‘I’m so sorry for your loss. He’s a hero.’
“I’m livid. He can’t even have an open-coffin funeral because his body is so messed up,’’ Wilson said.
Johnson, who had Myeshia’s name tattooed across his chest under his U.S. Army uniform, was saluted with a ceremonial homecoming at Miami International Airport. His family, dignitaries and law enforcement officers all saluted Johnson as his casket, draped in the American flag, wheeled out of a Delta Airlines plane en route to Fred Hunter’s Funeral Home in Hollywood.
President Donald Trump earlier unleashed controversy this week when he said that his predecessors, including President Barack Obama, did not personally call families of fallen soldiers, a statement refuted by Obama officials.
On CNN Wednesday, Wilson said Trump did not seem to remember Johnson’s name in the call and that she wanted “to curse him out.” She added he needed to be trained in how to respond to loved ones or to limit his conversations with them entirely.
“The best thing for him in these circumstances is to write a note,” she said. “When he makes his call, he can cut his call short by saying, ‘I'm sorry, your son was a hero,’ even though he already said he doesn't think people who are caught or killed are heroes.”
But in Johnson’s case, she added, she wants nothing more from the president: “I want him to say absolutely nothing. We're trying to bury our son.”