Trump Refutes Story That He Told Sergeant’s Widow “He Knew What He Signed Up For”

“How could you say that to a grieving widow?”

Shealah Craighead/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday hit back at a congresswoman’s account of a phone call he had with the family of a fallen soldier in which he remarked that the deceased “knew what he signed up for.” 

The denial comes after Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) said she heard the president’s call while riding in a car with the widow of Sgt. Army La David Johnson on Tuesday, shortly before Johnson’s remains arrived at Miami International Airport. While in the car, Trump called to offer his condolences over speakerphone. “Sarcastically, he said: ‘But, you know, he must’ve known what he signed up for,'” Wilson told NBC Miami. “How could you say that to a grieving widow?”

“I couldn’t believe—and he said it more than once,” she continued. “So I said, ‘This man has no feelings for anyone.’ This is a young woman with child.”

Johnson’s mother confirmed Wilson’s account.”President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” she told the Washington Post

Johnson was one of four service members killed on October 4 during a militant attack in Niger.

Wilson’s account follows Trump’s false claim on Monday that former presidents, namely Barack Obama, did not reach out to the families of slain soldiers. The next day, Trump specifically suggested Obama did not call current White House chief of staff John Kelly after his son, Robert Kelly was killed serving in Afghanistan in 2010.

This story has been updated.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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