United States President Donald Trump has denied telling a war widow on her way to meet her husband’s casket that the soldier “knew what he signed up for”.
Sergeant La David Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, was killed in Niger earlier this month during an ambush carried out by Boko Haram and other extremists linked to ISIS.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was riding in a limousine with the soldier’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, and her family to meet the casket at Miami International Airport when she overheard the President’s call and what she described on Twitter as his “insensitive comments”.
“Basically he said, ‘Well I guess he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurts’,” Ms Wilson told CNN
“I heard what he said because the phone was on speaker.”
The Florida Representative said Ms Johnson was already distraught, particularly after hearing the casket would be closed.
Mr Trump says Ms Wilson’s claim is fabricated but is yet to provide evidence.
Johnson’s body arrived home on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after his death on October 4.
He was one of four US soldiers killed when a joint patrol of American and Niger forces was ambushed by militants believed linked to the Islamic State group.
“This is a young woman who has two young children, who is six months’ pregnant with her third child [and] she has just lost her husband,” Ms Wilson said.
“She was just told that he cannot have an open-casket funeral which gives her all kinds of nightmares of how his body must look, how his face must look. And this is what the United States President says to her?
“That is not something you say to a grieving wife.”
Ms Wilson said Ms Johnson could not say anything in response to the President because she was crying.
“There were other family members in the car and they were all crying,” Ms Wilson said.
“All she said when it was time to hang up was ‘thank you, goodbye’.”
The congresswoman’s reaction to the call was to take the phone and “curse him out”, but she was not handed the phone.
Leave your views in comments box below.