From left, Richard Johnson Sr. holds La David Johnson Jr,. Ah'Leesya Johnson, and Myeshia Johnson, the wife of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, attend Sgt. Johnson's burial at the Hollywood Memorial Gardens in Hollywood, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. He was killed with three other colleagues in an ambush by extremists in Niger on Oct. 4. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
The widow of a U.S. Army soldier killed in an ambush attack earlier this month in Niger confirmed a congresswoman’s account of a call between her and President Donald Trump on Monday, saying that the president told her that her husband “knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway.”
Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, was one of four Army soldiers killed in Niger during what officials have described as an advise-and-assist mission in southwestern Niger. The Defense Department identified the other slain soldiers as Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 39, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29.
Myeshia Johnson, widow of La David Johnson, told “Good Morning America” on Monday that she is demanding answers in her husband’s death.
“The president said that he knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway,” Myeshia Johnson said, recalling a phone call made by the president as she and her family headed to the airport to pick up La David Johnson’s remains. “It made me cry (because) I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said he couldn’t remember my husband’s name. The only way he remembered my husband’s name is because he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him, and that’s when he actually said ‘La David.’”
The president took to Twitter to deny Myeshia Johnson’s account, writing on Monday morning that he “had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson.”
He said he “spoke his name from (the) beginning, without hesitation.”
I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!
“I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name, and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?” Myeshia Johnson said Monday.
Myeshia Johnson told “Good Morning America” that the president called the phone of the master sergeant and that she asked the master sergeant to put the phone on speaker, so that her aunt and uncle could hear the call as well. She said that’s how Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, heard the president tell her that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”
Trump denied the account multiple times last week, and White House officials slammed Wilson for listening to a conversation between the president and an Army widow.
“Whatever Ms. Wilson said was not fabricated,” Myeshia Johnson told “Good Morning America.” “What she said was 100 percent correct. ... Why would we fabricate something like that?”
The circumstances surrounding the ambush, which happened on Oct. 4, remain under investigation. Among other outstanding questions, authorities are working to determine how, why and when La David Johnson was separated from the team that was ambushed.
“They didn't know where he was or where to find him, and a couple (of) days later is when they told me that he went from missing to killed in action,” Myeshia Johnson said. “I don’t know how he got killed, where he got killed or anything. I don’t know that part, they never told me, and that’s what I’ve been trying to find out since day one, since October 4th.”
La David Johnson’s body was found by Nigerian forces, according to the Defense department.
“I know my husband’s body from head to toe. And they won’t let me see anything. I don’t know what’s in that box, it could be empty for all I know. But I need, I need to see my husband. I haven’t seen him since he came home.”