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US Army Widow: Trump Stumbled in Condolence Call Trying to Remember Husband's Name


Myeshia Johnson, widow of U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson, who was among four special forces soldiers killed in Niger, sits with her daughter, Ah'Leeysa Johnson at a graveside service in Hollywood, Florida, Oct. 21, 2017.

The widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger earlier this month said Monday that President Donald Trump's condolence call to her only made her cry more because she heard him "stumbling trying to remember my husband's name," Sergeant La David Johnson.

Myeshia Johnson told ABC's Good Morning America show, "That's what hurt me the most because if my husband is out there fighting for our country, and if he risks his life for our country, why can't you remember his name? And that one made me upset and cry even more because my husband was an awesome soldier."

In this frame from video, Myeshia Johnson cries over the casket in Miami, Florida, Oct. 17, 2017, of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger.
In this frame from video, Myeshia Johnson cries over the casket in Miami, Florida, Oct. 17, 2017, of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger.

Within two hours of her interview, Trump disputed Myeshia Johnson's account, saying on his Twitter account, "I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!"


Johnson, expecting her third child in January, quoted Trump as saying that her husband, a member of a U.S. Army Special Forces unit, "knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyway. It made me cry. I was angry at the tone of his voice."

The content of Trump's remarks with the Army widow about his expectations of the dangers in joining the military has led to days of contention in the U.S.

Trump has repeatedly attacked Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a longtime Johnson family friend, who was riding in a car with Myeshia Johnson when Trump called, heard his remarks on a speaker and then disclosed them. Myeshia Johnson said she had asked a military driver to put the call on speaker phone so others in the car could hear it.

"Whatever Miss Wilson said was not fabricated," Myeshia Johnson said. "What she said was a 100 percent correct."

FILE - Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., talks to reporters in Miami Gardens, Fla., Oct. 18, 2017.
FILE - Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., talks to reporters in Miami Gardens, Fla., Oct. 18, 2017.

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted, "Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems. You watch her in action" and vote for Republicans.


Myeshia Johnson said in the interview that she wants "to know why it took them 48 hours to find my husband, why couldn't I see my husband. Every time I ask to see my husband, they wouldn't let me."

She said that officials told her that her husband's body was "in a severe rot." He was killed along with three other U.S. soldiers in what military officials believe was an Islamic State ambush near the Niger-Mali border.

Myeshia Johnson, widow of U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson, who was among four special forces soldiers killed in Niger, is escorted into his graveside service in Hollywood, Florida, Oct. 21, 2017.
Myeshia Johnson, widow of U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson, who was among four special forces soldiers killed in Niger, is escorted into his graveside service in Hollywood, Florida, Oct. 21, 2017.

He was buried over the weekend, but she said, "I need to see him so I will know that is my husband. They won't show me a finger, a hand. I know my husband's body from head to toe. I don't know what's in that box. It could be empty for all I know. I need to see my husband. I haven't seen him since he came home.

"I don't know how he got killed, where he got killed, or anything," she said.

The U.S. Defense Department has launched a wide-ranging investigation about how the incident unfolded and how Johnson got separated from the others who were killed.

Myeshia Johnson said she has nothing to say to Trump about his call.

However, she said that someday she plans to tell her unborn daughter "how awesome her dad was and how a great father he was and how he died as a hero."

Key U.S. lawmakers have expressed surprise that the U.S. has about 1,000 troops in Niger, and have called for the Defense Department to keep them better informed.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer voiced concerns Sunday. On Monday, a leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, said she had not been aware of U.S. troops in Niger and has questions about "what they were doing there."

Watch: Details on Niger Attack

Niger Official Says Johnson Remained At Frontline After His Group Retreated
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