Donald Trump is disputing Gold Star widow Myeshia Johnson’s account of a phone call they shared shortly after her husband’ death in Niger.
‘He couldn’t remember my husband’s name,’ she said Monday on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ program. ‘The only way he remembered my husband’s name was because he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him, and that’s when he actually said “La David”.’
‘I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name and that’s what hurt me most,’ she said.
‘I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Army Specialist Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!’ he tweeted after the interview ended
Johnson was among the four soldiers killed in an ISIS ambush this month.
The president has been in a war of words with Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson over the call, after Wilson said in an interview that Trump dismissively told Myeshia Johnson her husband ‘knew what he signed up for.’
Wilson is a family friend of the Johnsons, and was in a limousine with the Gold Star widow and her family on the way to the airport to pick up the soldier’s body when Trump made the call.
Johnson confirmed Wilson’s version of events on Monday.
‘Whatever Ms Wilson said was not fabricated. What she said was 100 per cent correct,’ Johnson said. ‘The phone was on speakerphone. Why would we fabricate something like that?’
Johnson said her aunt, her uncle, a master sergeant and Wilson were with her in the car when Trump called the master sergeant .
The call came as they pulled onto the tarmac at Dover Dover Air Force Base to pick up Sgt. Johnson’s body, his widow said.
Johnson said she asked the master sergeant to put the phone on speakerphone so that everyone in the car could hear Trump.
‘The president said “He knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway”,’ Johnson recalled.
‘It made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it.
‘He couldn’t remember my husband’s name. The only way he remembered my husband’s name was because he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him, and that’s when he actually said “La David.”
‘I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name and that’s what hurt me most. Because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risks his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name? And that’s what made me upset and cry more,’ she added.
Johnson was so stunned by the call, she claimed, that she didn’t respond to the president.
She says she left the call feeling even worse than before.
Johnson said she was ‘very, very upset’ after the call and that it ‘made me cry even worse.’
In the interview, Johnson also demanded answers for what happened to her husband, and why she hasn’t been allowed to look at his body yet.
Johnson says the Army first told her that her husband went missing on October 4 after coming under a ‘mass of gunfire’.
They returned a few days later and said that he had been killed in action, but didn’t go into further detail.
‘I don’t know how he got killed, where he got killed or anything. I don’t know that part they never told me and that’s what I’ve been trying to find out since day one,’ she said.
She also says Army officials haven’t allowed her to look at her husband’s body.
‘They tell me that he’s in a severe wrap, that I won’t be able to see him,’ Johnson said.
‘They won’t show me a finger, a hand. I know my husband’s body from head to toe and they won’t let me see anything. I don’t know what’s in that box it could be empty for all I know,’ she added.
Johnson says she’s going to ‘keep pushing’ for answers.
Meanwhile, she says she’s speaking out to let he world know ‘how great a soldier’ her husband was, as well as what a ‘loving and caring father and husband he was to our family’.
The couple met when they were just six years old, and have two children together – a two-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter. The couple’s third child, a daughter, is due in January.
When asked how she’s going to teach her daughter about her father, Johnson said this:
‘I’m gonna tell her how awesome her dad was and how great a father he was and how he died as a hero.’