Donald Trump 'couldn't remember my husband's name' says widow of fallen soldier

'What Congresswoman Wilson said was 100 per cent correct' 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Monday 23 October 2017 14:03
Soldier's widow says Trump 'couldn't remember her husband's name'

Donald Trump struggled to remember the name of fallen soldier Sergeant La David T Johnson during a phone call with his family, according to the sergeant's widow.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Myeshia Johnson referenced the controversy over the President's comments in which he said Johnson "knew what he signed up for".

And she also confirmed previous reports suggesting Mr Trump failed to remember her husband's name. She said: "I heard him stumbling [over] trying to remember my husband's name, and that's what hurt me the most."

"If he's putting his life on the line for the country, why can't you remember his name?" she commented in the interview.

"My husband was an awesome soldier," Ms Johnson said, adding that Mr Trump's call made her "cry even worse."

Ms Johnson also addressed Mr Trump's claims that Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson lied about the condolence call he had had with her.

She said Ms Wilson has known she and her husband since they were young.

Ms Johnson said she took the call on speaker phone in the vehicle where Ms Wilson was asked to be present while the family travelled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to receive Mr Johnson's body.

The Congresswoman had gone on CNN the morning after to detail that Mr Trump did not know Mr Johnson's name and kept calling him "your guy."

John Kelly coached Trump to use the phrase "he knew what he was getting into" to bereaved widow

She also said the President told Ms Johnson: "You know, he must’ve known what he signed up for."

"Whatever Ms. Wilson said was not fabricated. What she said was 100 per cent correct," Ms Johnson confirmed.

Ms Johnson also noted that she had not actually seen her husband's body on his return; "they won't show me a finger, a hand."

"I don't know what's in that box. It could be empty for all I know," she told GMA, adding that she had asked to see him many times but was never allowed.

Ms Johnson has not been briefed on any details of what happened in Niger when three other soldiers Staff Sergeants Bryan Black, Jeremiah Johnson, Dustin Wright, and also Mr Johnson died and two others were injured when a group of a dozen US Army soldiers and 40 troops from Niger were ambushed on 4 October.

The Pentagon’s initial assessment was to blame Isis militants.

Congress, however, is questioning not only the purpose of the mission but why the Green Beret-led team was without sufficient support to fight off the 50 Isis militants.

In the ensuing rescue operation to get the US soldiers out of the area during a firefight with the militants, it appears Mr Johnson’s body was left behind.

His body was only recovered 48 hours later - found by Nigerian nationals - and returned the US.

Mr Mattis confirmed that the soldiers were there on a foreign internal defence training mission to "help the people in the region defend themselves."

He said these types of counter-terror missions are are done "by, with, and through our allies".

Mr Mattis, in response to some news reports, asked that the media "not question the actions of the troops caught in the firefight" who "did everything they could" to recover all the wounded and killed in action at the same time.

"We at the DOD like to know what we’re talking about before we talk," Mr Mattis said as an explanation for the lack of more details on the investigation.

The FBI has also joined the Defence Department investigation and Secretary James Mattis was adamant in saying: the "US military does not leave its troops behind".

However, he did admit the Pentagon does not "have all the accurate information yet" regarding the ambush and rescue operation.

Mr Mattis headed to Capitol Hill on Friday afternoon to meet with Senator John McCain - a retired Naval officer, prisoner of war, and chair of the Armed Service Committee - after he threatened to potentially use a subpoena to compel information from the Pentagon and the administration about the Niger attack, complaining that “it was easier under Obama” to find out about active military operations.

Mr Trump took to Twitter shortly after Ms Johnson's interview aired to write: "I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!"

He previously tweeted that Ms Wilson was "wacky" and that her claims should not be believed about the condolence call.

Thus far, 43 soldiers have been killed in action during Mr Trump's term in office. He has not contacted at least nine families according to a recent report.

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