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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

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.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate