WASHINGTON: The widow of a fallen soldier reproached President Donald Trump on Monday over his condolence call last week, saying she was angered by his tone and that he couldn’t remember her husband’s name. Trump quickly responded on Twitter that he’d been “very respectful” and spoke the name “without hesitation.”
Monday’s harsh exchange was the latest in an ongoing dispute over how Trump responded to the deaths of four service members in the African nation of Niger.
Myeshia Johnson, La David Johnson’s widow, spoke on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” It was her first interview after a Democratic congresswoman accused Trump of being callous in the call by telling the widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”
Johnson confirmed Wilson’s account, saying the congresswoman was a longtime friend who was with the family in the car when Trump called on Tuesday and listened on speakerphone. She said she had asked for the call to be put on speakerphone so relatives with her could hear.
“The president said that he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyway,” Johnson said. She added: “The only way he could remember my husband’s name was he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him and that’s when he actually said La David.” Trump, who had accused Rep. Frederica Wilson of fabricating the statement, fired back on Twitter, saying: “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!” But Johnson offered a different version.
“I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country why can’t you remember his name,” she said. “And that’s what made me upset and cry even more because my husband was an awesome soldier.”
The conflict drew criticism from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who said on “The View” Monday: “we should not be fighting about a brave American who lost his life.” Johnson also said she has received little information about her husband’s death and complained she has not been able to see his body.
Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2017