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Gold-Star Mom: Actually, Trump 'Did Disrespect' My Family

The president has denied reports that he told a military widow her husband "knew what he was signing up for" and couldn't remember his name.

by Drew Schwartz
Oct 18 2017, 4:12pm

Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The mother of Sergeant La David T. Johnson—a soldier killed in Niger earlier this month—said President Trump's call to the soldier's wife was out of line, backing up claims that the president reportedly told Johnson's widow her husband "knew what he was signing up for."

"President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband," Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told the Washington Post.

On Tuesday, Democratic representative Frederica S. Wilson told the Post she overheard the president's call to Myeshia Johnson, the soldier's widow, on speakerphone in the car. Wilson said Trump told Johnson her husband "knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway," leaving the widow in tears. Speaking with MSNBC, Wilson said the widow told her Trump "didn't even remember his name."

Trump denied that account of the conversation, tweeting that Wilson "totally fabricated" what he said during the phone call and that he had "proof." But when the Post asked Jones-Johnson if the congresswoman's description of the call was accurate, the Gold-Star mother said "yes."

It reportedly took Trump 12 days to speak publicly about Johnson and the three other Green Berets killed in Niger on October 4. Asked why he still hadn't addressed their deaths on Monday, Trump said that he had written letters to the fallen soldiers' families, and falsely claimed that "President Obama and other presidents" didn't reach out to the families of troops killed in combat, according to the New York Times. Trump then suggested that Obama never called current White House chief of staff John Kelly when his son was killed in combat in an interview with FOX News.

Several former Obama staffers refuted the accusations, slamming Trump for what they called a "lie."

Somehow Trump managed to spin a simple question about dead Green Berets into a full-blown scandal.

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Related: The Reality of Trump's Trans Military Ban