President Donald Trump has denied speaking insensitively to the widow of a fallen U.S. soldier. The deceased military service member's mother has stated that the president used disrespectful language while speaking to her family.
On Oct. 4, Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson and three other U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger during an ambush by militants affiliated with ISIS. The Department of Defense has initiated a review of the fallen soldiers' mission to determine how they were placed in a vulnerable position, CNN reports.
On Oct. 17, Trump contacted the soldiers' families to offer his condolences. Democratic Rep. Frederica S. Wilson of Florida asserted that the president was flippant when speaking to the soldier's widow, Myeshia Johnson.
Rep. Wilson, who was a personal friend of the fallen soldier, was accompanying Myeshia in a vehicle when she spoke to Trump on speakerphone. According to Wilson, the president told the widow that her husband "must have known what he signed up for."
"She was crying the whole time, and when she hung up the phone, she looked at me and said: 'He didn't even remember his name,'" Wilson told MSNBC. "That's the hurting part."
Wilson added that Trump made the remark "almost like joking ... It was horrible. It was insensitive. It was absolutely crazy, unnecessary. I was livid."
The White House declined to comment on Wilson's account of the phone call.
"The President's conversations with the families of American heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private," the White House said in a statement.
On Oct. 18, Trump took to social media to assert that Wilson had lied about Trump's conversation with Myeshia.
"Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof)," Trump tweeted out. "Sad!"
Sgt. Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, disclosed after the president's tweet that she had also been present during the phone call and said that Wilson's account was accurate.
"President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband," Jones-Johnson told The Washington Post.
Sgt. David Johnson is survived by two children with Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant with a third child. The fallen soldier met Rep. Wilson when he enrolled in the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence, a mentoring program that the congresswoman founded in 1993. The program has announced a scholarship for Sgt. Johnson's three children to afford college when they come of age, the Miami Herald reports.