×

Fallen soldier's widow explains why Trump's call made her angry and sad

  • Myeshia Johnson, the widow of an American soldier killed in Niger, says President Trump's phone call to her last week made her "upset."
  • The president later described the phone call as "very respectful," and he denied having trouble remembering the name of her husband, La David Johnson.

The widow of a slain American soldier said Monday that President Donald Trump's phone call "upset" her and made her "cry," but the president later disputed the account, calling the conversation "very respectful."

Myeshia Johnson's husband, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, was one of four Americans killed in Niger earlier this month. Myeshia Johnson said Trump's tone in their phone call last Tuesday made her "angry."

"The president said that 'he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyways.' 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," she told ABC's "Good Morning America."

2017Myeshia Johnson, wife of U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson, who was among four special forces soldiers killed in Niger, kisses his coffin at a graveside service in Hollywood, Florida.
Joe Skipper | Reuters
2017Myeshia Johnson, wife of U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson, who was among four special forces soldiers killed in Niger, kisses his coffin at a graveside service in Hollywood, Florida.

"The only way he remembered my husband's name, 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 the most," she said. "Because if my husband is out here fighting for our country, and he risked his life for our country, why can't you remember his name? And that's what made me upset and cry even more."

In a tweet Monday morning, Trump described the conversation as "very respectful" and claimed he mentioned La David Johnson's name from the "beginning, without hesitation!"

Trump's tweet will do little to shut down a controversy that has swirled around the president since last week. The issue of condolence calls to the families of fallen soldiers came to the forefront last week, when Trump falsely claimed that his predecessors did less than he to reach out to Gold Star families.

Following the call Tuesday, Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who was with Johnson at the time of her call with Trump and heard it on speakerphone, said she heard Trump say that La David Johnson "knew what he was signing up for."

Trump on Wednesday claimed Wilson "totally fabricated" the contents of the conversation, saying that he had "proof."

On Monday, Myeshia Johnson called Wilson's telling of the conversation "100 percent correct."

Even more attention surrounded the conversation on Thursday when White House chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general whose son died in Iraq, defended the president.