A Florida congresswoman said the family of a U.S. service member killed in Niger was “astonished” when President Donald Trump suggested in a condolence call that the soldier “must’ve known what he signed up for.”

Rep. Frederica Wilson told NBC Miami that she heard the president’s comment to Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s widow, Myeshia, on a speakerphone as they were traveling together Tuesday to meet his body.

“He said, ‘But you know he must’ve known what he signed up for,'” Wilson, a Democrat, recounted Trump saying more than once during the call to express his sympathy. Wilson said the conversation lasted three to five minutes.

A Florida congresswoman said the family of a U.S. service member killed in Niger was “astonished” when President Donald Trump suggested in a condolence call that the soldier “must’ve known what he signed up for.”

Rep. Frederica Wilson told NBC Miami that she heard the president’s comment to Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s widow, Myeshia, on a speakerphone as they were traveling together Tuesday to meet his body.

“He said, ‘But you know he must’ve known what he signed up for,'” Wilson, a Democrat, recounted Trump saying more than once during the call to express his sympathy. Wilson said the conversation lasted three to five minutes.

Trump to widow of fallen soldier: ‘He knew what he signed up for’
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Trump to widow of fallen soldier: ‘He knew what he signed up for’ 2:42
“Everyone knows when you go to war you could possibly not come back alive, but you don’t remind a grieving widow of that,” Wilson said. “That’s so insensitive.”

“He didn’t even remember his name,” Wilson recalled Myeshia Johnson telling her after hanging up with the president, the congresswoman told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday.

“That’s the hurting part,” Wilson said.A Florida congresswoman said the family of a U.S. service member killed in Niger was “astonished” when President Donald Trump suggested in a condolence call that the soldier “must’ve known what he signed up for.”

Rep. Frederica Wilson told NBC Miami that she heard the president’s comment to Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s widow, Myeshia, on a speakerphone as they were traveling together Tuesday to meet his body.

“He said, ‘But you know he must’ve known what he signed up for,'” Wilson, a Democrat, recounted Trump saying more than once during the call to express his sympathy. Wilson said the conversation lasted three to five minutes.

Trump to widow of fallen soldier: ‘He knew what he signed up for’

Trump to widow of fallen soldier: ‘He knew what he signed up for’ 2:42
“Everyone knows when you go to war you could possibly not come back alive, but you don’t remind a grieving widow of that,” Wilson said. “That’s so insensitive.”

“He didn’t even remember his name,” Wilson recalled Myeshia Johnson telling her after hanging up with the president, the congresswoman told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday.

“That’s the hurting part,” Wilson said.

Wilson confirmed the details of the call in an email to NBC News sent by a spokesperson Tuesday night. The statement from Wilson described Johnson’s family as “astonished” by Trump’s comment.

Trump hit back at Wilson’s recollection, tweeting that the “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”
Moments later, Wilson, talking to CNN’s “New Day,” said she also had evidence to support her account of the call.

“I’m not the only person that was in the car, and I have proof, too. This man is a sick man,” she said. “I have no reason to lie on the president of the United States with a dead soldier in my community.”

La David T. Johnson’s mother told The Washington Post that Trump “did disrespect” her son.

“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Cowanda Jones-Johnson, who was in the car during the phone call from Trump, told the paper.

Johnson was one of four U.S. service members killed in an ambush by militants in Niger on Oct. 4. Officials said they were participating in a train-and-advise mission with local forces.

Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, was found dead after initially being reported as missing after the attack.

He was a driver assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The Military Times reported that Johnson had received awards and decorations including the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Parachutist Badge, the Army Air Assault Badge, the Driver and Mechanic Badge, and the Marksmanship Qualification Badge — Sharpshooter With Rifle.

The White House said Tuesday that the president had called the families of all four service members who were killed. “He offered condolences on behalf of a grateful nation and assured them their family’s extraordinary sacrifice to the country will never be forgotten,” the White House said.

Asked about Wilson’s characterization of the call, a White House official said Tuesday night that “the president’s conversations with the families of American heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private.”

Trump on Monday falsely claimed that former President Barack Obama didn’t call the families of fallen service members while he was in office, but when pressed admitted that he didn’t know Obama’s practice.

Former Obama administration officials, including Eric Holder, who was attorney general, disputed Trump’s claim.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Trump defended his claim by alluding to former Gen. John Kelly’s son, a Marine who died in Afghanistan in November 2010.

A current White House official told NBC News on Tuesday that Obama did not call Kelly after the death of his son.

But a person familiar with the breakfast for Gold Star families — the term for those who have lost loved ones during military service — at the White House on May 30, 2011, told NBC News that Kelly and his wife attended the private event and were seated at first lady Michelle Obama’s table.

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