On Tuesday afternoon, the body of Sgt. La David Johnson was returned home to the United States after Johnson was killed in an ambush in Niger. However, for Johnson’s grieving widow, the words of comfort that the President of the United States is expected to offer fell short and instead turned sarcastic.
Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida was in the car with Myeshia Johnson, David Johnson’s pregnant widow, when Trump called and spoke with her for five minutes.
“Sarcastically he said: ‘But you know he must have known what he signed up for,’” Wilson recounted to NBC6. “How could you say that to a grieving widow? I couldn’t believe… and he said it more than once. I said this man has no feelings for anyone. This is a young woman with child who is grieved to her soul.”
— Michael Spears NBC6 (@MikeSpearsNBC6) October 17, 2017
Wilson also told CNN affiliate WPLG: “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 conversation happened just before Johnson’s body arrived at Miami International Airport. Johnson’s widow sobbed over his casket as their 6-year-old daughter stood by her and their 2-year-old son was being held by a relative. There was silence from those around the family who witnessed the display of grief.
Trump had been criticized for his response to the ambush in Niger, especially as Johnson was left behind during the ambush, and it took two days to find his body. However, Trump has focused national attention on the calls made to grieving families with an outlandish claim that President Barack Obama never called the families of fallen soldiers.
But for Wilson, the story should be about the pain the families are feeling, and she hopes that the president has more empathy than he showed in that phone call.
“That is what stood out in everyone’s heart,” she said. “You don’t say that. He is the President of the United States. This is a soldier who gave his life for his country. He is a hero in our minds, in our community’s minds. That is an insult to the entire Miami Gardens community, to the entire District 24, to Miami Dade county and to this nation. And I hope he didn’t say that to the other three families.”