President Donald Trump denied Wednesday that he told the widow of a U.S. serviceman killed in an ambush in Niger that “he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.”
“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” he tweeted.
He did not immediately provide the evidence to back up his claim.
Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, made the claim Tuesday night, saying she was present when the call took place.
Sgt. La David Johnson was among the four U.S. soldiers killed by enemy fire in an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger.
The call from the President to Johnson’s widow came shortly before Johnson’s casket arrival, Wilson said on “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon” Tuesday.
“Basically he said, ‘Well, I guess he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt,’ ” Wilson said, adding that she listened to part of the call on speaker phone while in a vehicle with the family.
Asked earlier if she was sure the President said that, Wilson told CNN affiliate WPLG: “Yeah, he said that. You know, … that is something that you can say in a conversation, but you shouldn’t say that to a grieving widow. Everyone knows when you go to war you could possibly not come back alive, but you don’t remind a grieving widow of that. That is so insensitive. So insensitive.”
The White House previously stated in response: “The President’s conversations with the families of American heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private.”
Four US soldiers were killed by enemy fire in an October 4 ambush in Niger. Trump addressed the deaths 12 days later in a Rose Garden news conference.
“I felt very, very badly about that,” Trump said Monday. “I always feel badly. It is the toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed.”