His version contradicted Johnson’s widow’s account of their conversation last week. Myeshia Johnson appeared on “Good Morning America” on Monday and said, when he called her last week, “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 there fighting for our country and risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?”
Trump responded to the “GMA” interview shortly after it aired, writing on Twitter that he “had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!”
I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2017
Johnson was one of four U.S. military personnel killed in Niger earlier this month in an ambush. The circumstances of what happened are still under investigation.
Last week, Trump called the Gold Star widow while she was in a car, and she asked that the conversation be put on a speaker phone. Among those who were in the car was Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), who criticized the president for telling Johnson that, “He knew what he signed up for.”
That generated a furor at the White House, which initially contradicted Wilson’s account of the conversation. Later, Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, a Gold Star father, defended Trump’s conversation and recounted what he was told when he learned that his son had been killed in Afghanistan.
“All Presidents, I believe, have elected to send letters to families of fallen soldiers,” Kelly said. “If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you could imagine. There’s no perfect way to make that phone call.”
He also said that it “stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred.”
Over the weekend, Trump called Wilson “wacky” and that she is “killing the Democrat Party!”
But Johnson’s widow confirmed Wilson’s account of the conversation she had with Trump and her reaction to it.
“What she said was 100% correct,” Myeshia Johnson said.
Subscribe to Variety Newsletters and Email Alerts!