Apparently, the he-said-she-said roller coaster between President Donald Trump and Rep. Frederica S. Wilson has a third side: the mother denies Trump’s version of his condolence call and said the commander-in-chief was ill-mannered about her fallen Green Beret son, Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed during a mission in Africa.
U.S. Special Forces soldier La David Johnson was killed along with three other Green Beret members during an ambush attack in Niger on October 4. Reportedly, the military service members were part of a support mission when they came under surprise fire.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, nearly two weeks after Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, died, Trump called Myeshia Johnson, the Green Beret’s widow. During the exchange, the president’s sentiments were aimed at providing moral support to the family over their loss, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Congresswoman Wilson, who knows the family and mentored the Green Beret in the past, was present in the limousine with the family when the president contacted the widow, according to the Washington Post. The Democratic lawmaker took to Twitter and alleged that Trump insulted the grieving widow by saying that the deceased Green Beret “knew what he signed up for.”
Wilson told sources that the family was “astonished” and the widow was in tears, hurt by Trump’s manner of communication.
“She was crying the whole time, and when she hung up the phone, she looked at me and said, ‘He didn’t even remember his name.’ That’s the hurting part.”
Wilson added that Trump “was almost like joking. He said, ‘Well, I guess you knew’ — something to the effect that ‘he knew what he was getting into when he signed up, but I guess it hurts anyway.’ You know, just matter-of-factly, that this is what happens, anyone who is signing up for military duty is signing up to die. That’s the way we interpreted it. It was horrible. It was insensitive. It was absolutely crazy, unnecessary. I was livid.”
The dead Green Beret’s mom, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, said, “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”
— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 18, 2017
Rep. Wilson stood by her account in a press release later posted on her official website.
“Despite President Trump’s suggestion that I have recanted my statement or misstated what he said, I stand firmly by my original account of his conversation with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson. Moreover, this account has been confirmed by family members who also witnessed Mr. Trump’s incredible lack of compassion and sensitivity.
“The Johnson family and the families of the three other soldiers who tragically lost their lives in the Niger ambush are experiencing what I am certain must feel like an unbearable loss. Rather than engage in a petty war of words with Mr. Trump, it is so much more important to embrace and support the families and honor these fallen heroes.”
Trump told widow of fallen soldier 'he knew what he signed up for,' says Rep. Wilson https://t.co/vjEyKrrs9c
— Haiti News Network (@HaitiNewsNet) October 18, 2017
I stand my account of the call with @realDonaldTrump and was not the only one who heard and was dismayed by his insensitive remarks.
— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 18, 2017
Sanders later said she thinks it’s a disgrace that Rep. Wilson is “politicizing” the conversation. She says that there are no recordings that back up Trump’s claims, but she told reporters that members of Trump’s administration, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, were present.
CNN also reported that the family of the dead Green Beret confirmed Congresswoman Wilson’s account of Trump’s “disrespectful” words during his telephone call. It’s unclear what Trump meant during his alleged words to the family. However, one panelist suggested that the real estate mogul’s background and lack of experience in politics might have weighed heavily in the optics.
As an entrepreneur, Trump is accustomed to a pragmatic approach to business; his style of management is based on “transactional” relationships, according to a CNN contributor and former CIA officer.
Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said Trump’s fight over the allegations is a distraction from larger issues and inappropriate during a time of mourning.
As CNN’s Sarah Murray said during a live broadcast, the controversy comes in the context of the backlash the president attracted in the wake of his delay in contacting the families of the ambushed green beret veterans; critics assailed Trump for waiting 12 days to make the telephone calls.
During a presser where Trump met with members of the Senate Finance Committee, the president addressed a question from the media about his alleged “disrespectful” behavior during the telephone call with the widow of the Green Beret.
“I didn’t say what that congresswoman said; didn’t say it all. She knows it. I had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife who was — sounded like a lovely woman. Did not say what the congresswoman said, and most people aren’t too surprised to hear that.”
It’s been a whiplash of a week for the Trump administration.
According to the third-ranking GOP member of the Senate, John Thune, the bipartisan health care deal that is not quite 24-hours-old has “stalled out.” A day earlier, President Trump celebrated the agreement between him and key Democrats that would, in effect, preserve cost-sharing subsidies for a number of years to help people afford health insurance. CNN’s Gloria Borger thinks Conservatives pressured Trump to back away from the deal because the Republicans would reap little over a mutual agreement.
In addition to Trump’s Green Beret backlash, the embattled president is under fire for allegedly lying on his predecessor for not ever calling the families of fallen soldiers. On Monday and Tuesday, Trump stated that Barack Obama did not make such calls. However, several media sources and former Obama administration officials emphatically denied Trump’s assertions. The president has since walked backed his comments by saying that’s what he “was told,” apparently by others within his administration.
Donald Trump tangles with Democratic congresswoman over call to Green Beret's widow https://t.co/L4UIvCfiS2
— MP Gas Media Org (@karenmgraya) October 18, 2017
Some are saying Trump’s “heart was in the right place,” but his words did not match his intentions. Share your thoughts about the latest developments with Trump and his Green Beret controversy. Should the president be given the benefit of the doubt?
[Featured Image by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images]