Nearly two weeks after the October 4 attack in Niger, Africa, that left four U.S. soldiers dead in an ambush, POTUS Donald Trump finally called their grieving families on Tuesday. As the New York Post reports, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump used his phone calls as an opportunity to express his belated condolences as well as to remind that “their family’s extraordinary sacrifice to the country will never be forgotten.” However, it appears that the president also used his call to the grieving and heavily pregnant widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson to remind her that her deceased husband “knew what he signed up for.”
As ABC Local 10 reports, Donald Trump made a call to Myeshia Johnson, the pregnant widow of La David Johnson, at roughly 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, and spoke to her for just about five minutes. During their conversation, Democratic representative Frederica Wilson claims that Trump pointed out to the bereaved widow that Johnson “knew what he signed up for…but when it happens it hurts anyway” regarding his tragic death in Niger in northwestern Africa. According to Wilson, who in 1993 founded the mentorship program that helped train La David Johnson, Trump was “insensitive.” She added that the president “should not have said” what he said to the grieving, pregnant widow and mother of two.
“Yes, he said it. It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it.”
The comments reportedly made by Donald Trump to U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow took place just before the fallen soldier’s remains returned to American soil on their way to their final resting place. Johnson’s body was transported from Niger to the United States via a commercial Delta Airlines flight, which landed at Miami International Airport on Tuesday afternoon. The Green Beret’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, mother of the 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter of the U.S. serviceman killed in the line of duty, is currently pregnant with his child.
As the New York Post reports, Donald Trump made his call to the widow of La David Johnson just one day after backtracking on a statement that previous presidents had not called the survivors of fallen U.S. soldiers. The publication reiterates that Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, the representative from the home district of the fallen hero, confirms Donald Trump’s words to the widow of the fallen Green Beret.
After the phone call from the president, the widow of Johnson met with the remains of her deceased soldier husband at Miami International Airport. Representative Wilson recalled that the heavily pregnant woman sobbed “uncontrollably” as she draped over and hugged the casket containing her husband’s remains. The couple’s daughter reportedly joined her mother on the tarmac, while her toddler son was cared for in the arms of a loved one on the sidelines.
Donald Trump has faced widespread backlash for his handling of the deaths of the four U.S. soldiers in Niger on October 4, particularly concerning his delay in executing a public response to the tragedy. In a press conference last week, Trump refused to speak of details of the attack that left four American servicemen dead, nor did he speak of an investigation. Rather, he answered questions regarding whether he had personally contacted the surviving family members of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson and three other slain U.S. soldiers.
“I will, at some point, during the period of time, call the parents and the families, because I have done that, traditionally.”
Following the ambush-related U.S. soldier deaths in Niger, Trump faced criticism for failing to both publicly acknowledge the deaths and/or to contact the families of the deceased. Trump even went so far as to erroneously accuse proceeding presidents of failing to contact the families of fallen U.S. soldiers. Former aides to both Presidents Obama and Bush quickly called out Trump for his claims, adding that the 45th president must have misspoken. Trump later recanted his accusations against former U.S. presidents, qualifying that his statement regarding their lack of personal response to previous soldier deaths was “what I was told.”
“President Obama I think probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know. That’s what I was told. All I can do—all I can do is ask my generals. Other presidents did not call. They’d write letters. And some presidents didn’t do anything. But I like the combination of—I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter.”
In addition to calling out Donald Trump for referring to the death of Sgt. La David Johnson as something he had “signed up for,” representative Frederica Wilson also criticized Trump for refusing to acknowledge the death of the Green Beret after he was abandoned during an evacuation in Niger. It reportedly took two full days for the remains of the U.S. soldier to be recovered in the desert of the Republic of Niger. When the remains were initially transported to the U.S. on October 7, Donald Trump was reportedly golfing.
What do you think about Donald Trump’s words to the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson? Was it appropriate for the POTUS to proclaim that the deceased Green Beret “knew what he signed up for”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]