The bereaved mother of Sgt. La David Johnson — who was killed in an ambush in Niger on duty earlier this month — confirmed reports that President Donald Trump told her son’s widow Johnson “knew what he signed up for.”
Cowanda Jones-Johnson was responding to Rep. Frederica Wilson’s account that those were Trump’s words to widowed Myeshia Johnson during Trump’s five-minute condolence phone call. Jones-Johnson said that she was in the car when Trump phoned her daughter-in-law; she told the Washington Post she heard the conversation via speakerphone.
“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Jones-Johnson said to the Post today.
Jones-Johnson did not wish to elaborate on the conversation, but she confirmed that Wilson’s report was indeed correct. Wilson was accompanying the family to Miami International Airport as they traveled there to receive Sgt. Johnson’s body from overseas. Wilson told CNN that Trump had spoken to Myeshia Johnson and told her that her late husband “knew what he signed up for” — she also said Trump didn’t know Sgt. Johnson’s name when he called Johnson.
Wilson referred to Trump’s words as “insensitive” and told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, “This man is a sick man. He’s cold-hearted, and he feels no pity or sympathy for anyone.”
Trump tweeted his denial of Wilson’s account of the call, claiming he could prove those were not his words. Trump wrote, “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” In response, Wilson told CNN’s New Day she had proof as well.
In response to these events, Karen Meredith of VoteVets wrote in a statement: “Mr. Trump, stop. Please, just stop. This is not about you, it is about them. It is about all of us who lost our loved ones in war. For once in your life, please stop making everything about you. For once in your life, at least pretend to know what empathy is. For once in your life, at least try to care about other people and their feelings.” Meredith’s son, 1st Lt. Ken Ballard, was killed in Iraq.
Our hearts go out to the families of all the fallen soldiers as well as to the veterans and active-duty service members who have bravely served our country.