President Donald Trump has drawn some criticism for his bizarre choice of words when speaking to the pregnant widow of one of the U.S. special forces soldiers killed in Niger.
When speaking to Myeshia Johnson on Oct. 17, Trump said that her 25-year-old husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, "knew what he signed up for... but when it happens it hurts anyway," WPLG reported.
"Yes, he said it," U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson told WPLG. "It's so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn't have said it."
Wilson said she was sitting beside Myeshia when she took the call. They were on their way to Miami International Airport, where her husband's remains were arriving on a commercial flight.
Footage was captured of Myeshia, who is expecting her third baby in January, sobbing as she leaned over her husband's flag-draped coffin. The couple's 6-year-old daughter was also seen standing by the coffin, while their 2-year-old son was being carried by a relative.
"Sgt. La David Johnson is a hero. [Donald Trump] does not possess the character, empathy or grace to be president of the United States," Wilson later wrote on Twitter.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Trump spoke with all four families of the U.S. soldiers who were killed in Niger in early October. Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright and Sgt. La David Johnson were ambushed by a group believed to be affiliated with ISIS while patrolling in unarmored trucks with Niger troops, according to the Daily Mail.
"He offered condolences on behalf of a grateful nation and assured them their family's extraordinary sacrifice to the country will never be forgotten," Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
The phone calls came a day after Trump was called out by a reporter during a press conference at the White House about his silence regarding the fallen troops. The president said he wrote to the families and that he was waiting for the "appropriate" time to call. He then proceeded to falsely accuse former President Barack Obama and others for never calling the families of fallen soldiers.
"So the traditional way if you look at president Obama and other presidents -- most of them didn't' make calls," Trump said. "A lot of them didn't make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate, when I think I'm able to do it. They have made the ultimate sacrifice, so generally I would say that I like to call."
When another reporter asked Trump about his claim that Obama did not call the families of fallen troops, the president appeared to backpedal.
"I don't know if he did. I was told that he didn't often," Trump responded. "A lot of presidents don't, they write letters. I do a combination of both. Sometimes it's a very difficult thing to do but I do a combination of both.
"President Obama I think probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn't. I don't know that's what I was told."
A GoFundMe account was set up to help support the children of Sgt. La David Johnson. It has raised more than $205,000 in just one day.
Trump has since taken to Twitter to refute Wilson's claims.
"Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof)," the president tweeted. "Sad!"