White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was present during the phone call that President Donald Trump had with a soldier’s widow that’s been largely characterized as “insensitive.” Army Sgt. La David Johnson was one of four soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger, and Trump’s conversation with his wife, Myeshia Johnson, is being scrutinized after claims were made by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Florida) that the president told the soldier’s widow that Johnson “knew what he signed up for.”
The Hill reports that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told journalists at a press conference Wednesday that while there were no recordings of the phone call President Trump had with the soldier’s widow, several members of his administration were in the room with him. Sanders cited John Kelly as being one of those people.
Sanders also revealed that Kelly supported President Trump’s comments made to the soldier’s widow.
“General Kelly was present for the call and thought it was completely appropriate. He thought the call was respectful and he thought that the president did the best job he could under those circumstances to offer condolences on the part of the country,” she said.
Wilson was with the soldier’s family when Trump called Myeshia Johnson. She was outraged at Trump being insensitive in his comments made to Sgt. La David Johnson’s family. The congresswoman said she overheard the president tell Myeshia that her husband “knew what he signed up for, but when it happens it hurts anyway.”
The president has strongly denied Wilson’s accusations, calling them “fabricated.”
— The Hill (@thehill) October 18, 2017
The deceased soldier’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, was on speaker phone during the call that her daughter-in-law received from Donald Trump. She backs Wilson’s statements, telling the Washington Post that Trump “did disrespect” her son and his entire family. Jones-Johnson was on CNN Tuesday night distraught over the president’s insensitive remarks, telling Don Lemon that it was terrible how Trump handled the call.
Sanders is calling the whole thing a “disgrace of the media” and said Wilson’s accusations are “appalling and disgusting.” The press secretary added that making phone calls to the families of soldiers that have been killed in action is the “hardest job” the president has to do. She pushed back by saying that it’s the congresswoman is politicizing the issue and is trying to make it something that it’s not.
President Trump’s comments to the soldier’s widow were widely attacked, but the White House is firmly standing by the president. Will Kelly’s support help the president in this enormous controversy?
[Featured Image by Mike Theiler/Pool/Getty Images]