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WASHINGTON (AP) — The mother of an Army sergeant killed in Niger said Wednesday that President Donald Trump, in a call offering condolences, showed “disrespect” to the soldier’s loved ones as they drove to the airport to meet his body. Trump, engulfed in controversy over the appropriate way for presidents to show compassion for slain soldiers, strongly disputed that account.

Sgt. La David Johnson was one of four American military personnel killed nearly two weeks ago whose families had not heard from Trump until Tuesday. Rep. Frederica Wilson said that Trump told the widow that Johnson “knew what he signed up for.”

The Florida Democrat said she was in the car with the widow, Myeshia Johnson, on the way to Miami International Airport to meet the body when Trump called. La David Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the congresswoman’s account was correct.

“Yes the statement is true,” Jones-Johnson said. “I was in the car and I heard the full conversation.

That’s simply not so, Trump said Wednesday. He declared on Twitter: “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”

And in a White House meeting on tax overhaul, Trump said that he “didn’t say what that congresswoman said, didn’t say it at all. She knows it.”

Wilson did not back down from her account, suggesting that Trump “never wants to take ownership” of a mistake.

“If you are the leader of the free world, if you are president of the United States and you want to convey sympathy to a grieving family, a grieving widow, you choose your words carefully,” Wilson told AP on Wednesday. “And everyone knows that Donald Trump does not choose his words carefully.”

“She was crying for the whole time,” Wilson said of the new widow. “And the worst part of it: when he hung up you know what she turned to me and said? She said he didn’t even remember his name.”

Like presidents before him, Trump has made personal contact with some families of the fallen but not all. What’s different is that Trump, alone among them, has picked a political fight over who’s done better to honor the war dead and their families.

He placed himself at the top of the list, saying on Tuesday, “I think I’ve called every family of someone who’s died” while past presidents didn’t place such calls.

But AP found relatives of four soldiers who died overseas during Trump’s presidency who said they never received calls from him.

Relatives of two also confirmed they did not get letters. And Relatives of two also confirmed they did not get letters. And proof is plentiful that Barack Obama and George W. Bush — saddled with far more combat casualties than the roughly two dozen so far under

Trump — took painstaking steps to write, call or meet bereaved military families.

After her Army son died in an armored vehicle rollover in Syria in May, Sheila Murphy says, she got no call or letter from Trump, even as she waited months for his condolences and wrote him that “some days I don’t want to live.”

In contrast, Trump called to comfort Eddie and Aldene Lee about 10 days after their Army son was killed in an explosion while on patrol in Iraq in April. “Lovely young man,” Trump said, according to Aldene. She thought that was a beautiful word to hear about her boy, “lovely.”

Trump’s delay in publicly discussing the men lost at Niger did not appear to be extraordinary, judging from past examples, but his politicization of the matter is. He went so far Tuesday as to cite the death of chief of staff John Kelly’s son in Afghanistan to question whether Obama had properly honored the war dead.

Kelly was a Marine general under Obama when his Marine son Robert died in 2010. “You could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?” Trump said on Fox News radio.

A White House official said later that Obama did not call Kelly but not respond to questions whether some other sort of outreach was made. Kelly, who was absent from a pair of public White House events on Tuesday, was sitting near the president in his tax meeting on Wednesday but did not address reporters.

Democrats and some former government officials were livid, accusing Trump of “inane cruelty” and a “sick game.”

Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq veteran who lost both legs when her helicopter was attacked, said: “I just wish that this commander in chief would stop using Gold Star families as pawns in whatever sick game he’s trying to play here.”

For their part, Gold Star families, which have lost members in wartime, told AP of acts of intimate kindness from Obama and Bush when those commanders in chief consoled them.

Trump initially claimed that only he among presidents made sure to call families. Obama may have done so on occasion, he said, but “other presidents did not call.”

He equivocated Tuesday as the record made plain that his characterization was false. “I don’t know,” he said of past calls. But he said his own practice was to call all families of the war dead.

But that hasn’t happened.

No White House protocol demands that presidents speak or meet with the families of Americans killed in action — an impossible task in a war’s bloodiest stages. But they often do.

Altogether some 6,900 Americans have been killed in overseas wars since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the overwhelming majority under Bush and Obama.

Despite the much heavier toll on his watch — more than 800 dead each year from 2004 through 2007 — Bush wrote to all bereaved military families and met or spoke with hundreds if not thousands, said his spokesman, Freddy Ford.

Veterans groups said they had no quarrel with how presidents have recognized the fallen or their families.

“I don’t think there is any president I know of who hasn’t called families,” said Rick Weidman, co-founder and executive director of Vietnam Veterans of America. “President Obama called often and President Bush called often. They also made regular visits to Walter Reed and Bethesda Medical Center, going in the evenings and on Saturdays.”

Trump feuded with one Gold Star family during last year’s campaign, assailing the parents of slain Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in Iraq in 2004, after they criticized him from the stage at the Democratic National Convention.


Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Jennifer Kay in Miami, Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia. Jonathan Drew in Raleigh, North Carolina, Kristen de Groot in Philadelphia, Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island, Michelle Price in Salt Lake City, and Hope Yen and Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.

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(U.S. Army Special Operations Command via AP, AP Photo/Alex Brandon & WPLG via AP)

37 thoughts on “Family Of Slain Sergeant Says Trump Showed ‘Disrespect’

  1. Tyrone on said:

    I listen to Steve Harvey and Tom Joyner daily. It amazes me of the racial victimization that is preached on a daily basis to black Americans. If a story shows Trump in a negative light it is reported as believable and probable. If it shows Trump in a positive light it is reported as questionable if reported at all. If I were black I would hate Trump too after being told he is a white supremacist on a daily basis. I don’t blame black listeners at all but I do blame bias reporters or host that can’t tell the news without interjecting their bias opinions vs only reporting the facts. Steve Harvey tried to get involved in working with Trump and was called names and had to pull back. The black community lost having a great advocate in the White House. Now all he can do is sit back and call Trump names like the rest with the only thing getting greater is the hate in America. They shouldn’t even call this section news. They should call it entertainment.

  2. specialt757 on said:

    “it’s a shame this man’s death is being politicized”. Sounds like what #45 did when referring to Gen. Kelly’s son’s death on Faux news. How come you didn’t say that then? Oh that’s right, because you need faux news to tell you how to think, these are the same words they used when referring to Rep. Wilson. Perhaps when you get a moment you can say something intelligent.

  3. Truth being told, when I heard about the President telling a wife he knew what he signed up for, my first thought was I bet it was SGT Johnson’s wife. And he did not fail.
    Those supporting his stance needs to read/see between the lines. It’s becoming plain as day that he don’t care for all servicemembers equally.
    ADDITIONALLY, people need to STOP politicizing our servicemembers when it’s convenient to them. They/we are pawns in all of this crap. ~ signed a 20 year veteran

  4. I wonder what was said to the families of the other solders and what they interpreted from his calls to them, in any event it’s a shame this man’s death is being politicized
    The “Mad Hatter” ( Congresswoman) is certainly making the rounds to any and all cameras that will put her in front of them

    • Guest1 on said:

      Jhump, you and the fake one are always commenting on some woman’s fashion or hair as if that has anything to do with the validity of their statements. Is there something about you that you need to get out to the closet? Maybe? She’s stating what she heard the orange monster spout out during a phone call. What she’s wearing has nothing to do with the truth. Come back when you have something better.

      • Gush1 then again maybe shes just catering to you plantation Negros who are willing to fall for anything as long as the right person tells you to

  5. Young women name Whitney Hunter’s husband was killed in Afghanistan and she said Mike Pense was there for her and she never received a call from trump or a letter so you see he lied and she is White. So just stop with all the lying trump.

  6. He keep saying the congress women is lying but the mother in law said she heard it herself so tell me who’s lying He just need to not call if you can’t say anything nice that Young Lady lost her husband fighting for this Country just like the other 3 Men show his family some respect and orange man keep saying he have proof why would you have to have proof I bet he didn’t say that bullcrap to the other 3 Men families. And why don’t he stop talking about what President Obama did and didn’t do he did his 8 years you wanted the job now do it.

    • Hey fake ass Larry, you’re fake prez didn’t reach out to the family of another blk casualty of war victim. He was a soldier. His family has yet to hear from the fake ass liar in chief. It’s sickening to hear ppl defend 45s dispicable behavior

  7. Chastity on said:

    trump (no respect for him so I will not capitalize his name) is the worst person to have been elected president that I have seen during my lifetime. He is the epitome of a narcissistic, dumbass, racist, bigot, liar, piece of shit, (I could go on). He lies about EVERYTHING and knows NOTHING!!! I definitely believe he said it. Of course he and his stupid ass minions will deny it but we all know he said it. They need to stop playing around and get his ass out of the White House. He tries to deflect attention to things like the NFL to make people forget about all of the mess his dumb ass is causing. Most of us see through his ruse. Wake up people!!!

    • specialt757 on said:

      Right Chasity. Yesterday he sent a twit (because he’s f**king twit) out saying how the NFL is letting it’s players disrespect the country. But notice, he never sent a tweet out with condolences to the families of the four fallen soldiers, NOT ONE. He is so fixated on being a damn celebrity than running the country and having apathy and respect for people he commands.
      Truth be told, #45 can’t be something he’s not. He’s never been the type person who shows concerns for others, or respects others, he can’t even fake it, he is simply not a good person. He is who he is and the stupid people who voted for him knew he had these character flaws when they selected him for president. They are the worst human beings living in America. And instead of admitting to themselves they made a huge mistake, they continue to defend his actions. What a crock of shit, miss me wit’ it #worstpresidentever!

  8. Mrknowitall on said:

    Dear black people: when the most powerful man in the world takes the time to call you and tell you how sorry he is for your loss, and you complain,you are either a bitter black racist or a Democrat or both.

    • Chastity on said:

      Well, apparently you are as stupid as trump. He did not call the family out of the kindness of his heart or concern for what the family was going through. He did it for attention!!!

    • Passing Through! on said:

      Dear Mr don’t know shit,

      When you take the time to come on a black website to defend racism you must be f**king
      stupid, racist or both…GTFOH!

    • Mia.Powell on said:

      Mrknowitall so when he don’t call a White family Whitney Hunter’s husband Sergeant Jonathan Hunter’s died in Afghanistan under orange man trump watch and she didn’t get a call or a letter from that orange face fool trump so what do it make her. Get your head out his ass because he don’t give a fuck about your poor ass if your not rich you don’t matter. Fuck orange face ass racist trump and that porn star wife of his. The mother in law was there and she said she heard it but he didn’t say she lied because he know she’s telling the truth so trump just don’t call no one if you don’t respect them because remember he died fighting for this country just like the other 3 Men and people keep saying we are the same act like it and pass it on to trump.

  9. Guest1 on said:

    Resident in the black house, a reporter asked you the other day why were our soldiers in Niger? Because you didn’t have an answer, you deflected and caused a firestorm lying on past presidents about contacting the families of fallen soldiers. You still have not answered the question. WHY WERE OUR SERVICEMEN IN NIGER? We all know you don’t know because if you’re too stupid to know that you’re the liar in chief over the US Virgin Islands, we know you’re too stupid to know about the African continent. Big ass head is just full space.

    • Passing Through on said:

      He’s just stupid period! He doesn’t know why the troops were in Niger because he doesn’t read or keep up with briefings. We’re talking about a dumb MF who has never read the Constitution. He can’t stay off of social media concerning himself with bulls**t that has nothing to do with governing. He’s more concerned with what’s going on in the NFL or Stephen Curry not coming to the white house than he is with running the country. This is why he’s failing AND WILL CONTINUE TO FAIL! #WORSEPRESIDENTEVER!

    • specialt757 on said:

      Guest1 that is a very good question, I also wondered why we’re in Niger? We all know the fake prez has no clue, but somebody should know and yet no one has bothered to answer. Must be a secret mission.
      Again I say when you think he can’t get any dumber, we wake up another day to hear something dumber than the day before. U.S. Virgin Islands? I guess the U.S. part didn’t give him a clue. I guess it’s hard when you’re clueless and can only understand how twitter works.

  10. Passing Through on said:

    Have people not figured out that trump is a sociopath, he lacks empathy, he has no conscious. How did everyone think he would respond? He doesn’t do it purposely, this just who he is. He can’t show emotions that he doesn’t have. A sociopath can only mimic feelings, emotions, empathy or sympathy but they’re truly void of any real emotion. This is nothing shocking to me, nothing about this man shocks me anymore. He is beyond mentally ill.

  11. The Liar-in-Chief should be ashamed of himself!!!!!!
    However, we all know that his dumbass isn’t.

    If Chump couldn’t have called Mr. Johnson’s widow and expressed sincere condolences
    for her loss-then he should’ve kept his big mouth shut!!!!

    His comments added insult to injury!

    Mrs. Johnson is expecting a child, and had to meet her husband’s coffin,
    with the knowledge that he will have to have a “closed casket” service
    due to the condition of his remains.

    She did not need the added stress of Chump’s UGLY/INSENSITIVE COMMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Funny how NONE of the GOP or DEMS are speaking out regarding Chump’s awful behavior.
    Their silence speaks volumes. They are all a bunch of wusses!!!!!!!!!!!

    My heart goes out to Mrs. Johnson and her entire family.

    • Guest1 on said:

      L, if they don’t care about this man groping and insulting women, disrespecting Gold Star families, disrespecting a POW, lying and disrespecting the american people, past presidents, world leaders and dignitaries (is there anyone left?), of course they don’t give a damn about him disrespecting a fallen soldier and his family. What happens when these people get to Washington, D.C. and lose their damn minds. They all should be fired. I see yellow streaks down the backs of a lot of them.

  12. Guest1 on said:

    No one with common sense is believing that this mofo didn’t disrespect this dead soldier, his wife, his mother and father. He’s a big ass liar. Now, he’s saying the wife and mother are lying. Of course he’s going to say he didn’t do it. He’s nothing but a black hearted rat bastard! To the families of other soldiers, marines, sailors, & airmen, God forbid nothing happens to them, but if it does and you get a call from the black house, please do the humane thing and say “can you hear me now”, and hang up the damn phone.

    • Mia.Powell on said:

      That is good what you said and make sure when you hang up hurt that orange face fool ears hard when you slam the phone lol

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