A Gold Star wife has been in the media spotlight after it was widely reported that President Donald Trump called her to offer condolences, but instead forget her husband’s name and said something insulting. She appeared on TV on Monday and said she has a lot of questions about her husband’s death, and also questioned whether or not his body was even in the casket that was flown home last week.
Myeshia Johnson, the wife of Sgt. La David Johnson who died earlier this month in Niger, told Good Morning America on Monday that she was “very upset and hurt” after the President’s phone call last week, and she questioned whether or not her husband was even in the casket that was flown home. Myeshia Johnson said that she has many questions about the circumstances of her husband’s death.
“I need to see him so I will know that that is my husband,” Myeshia Johnson told Good Morning America. “They won’t show me a finger, a hand; 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,” she told Good Morning America. “It could be empty for all I know.”
And: “I want to know why it took them 48 hours to find my husband,” Myeshia Johnson said.
Recently, four U.S. service members – Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright – were killed on Oct. 4 in Niger, West Africa, when their 12-person team was ambushed.
Trump called Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, last week, and it was widely reported that he said: “He knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway.”
Myeshia Johnson told George Stephanopoulos on Monday that she was “angry” at the President’s tone, and that he forget her husband’s name.
Myeshia Johnson said:
“And it made me cry cause 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. I heard him stumblin’ 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. And that’s what made me upset and cry even more because my husband was an awesome soldier.”
However, Trump has refuted this. He tweeted Monday morning in his defense, following Myeshia Johnson’s interview.
“I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from the beginning, without hesitation,” Trump said.
Chief of Staff John Kelly said last week that the President “very bravely” made the hard phone calls, Kelly said this week, pointing out that Trump had called the families of all four fallen service members.
Kelly said the President expressed his condolences “in the best way he could,” and that Trump had asked Kelly what he should say.
“I said to him, sir there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families,” Kelly explained.
“[…] Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford [now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] told me. He said, Kel: He [Robert Kelly] was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into … by joining that one percent,” Kelly said. “When he died, he was surrounded by the best men on earth – his friends.”
“That’s what the president tried to say to four families the other day,” Kelly said.
Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson, from Florida, last told a local news affiliate about what Trump said during the phone call, saying it was “insensitive.” Wilson was in the car with Myeshia Johnson at the time of the call.
Trump has since said the congresswoman fabricated the story. La David Johnson’s mother had said the President disrespected her family.
He was “stunned” by what Wilson was doing in the press, Kelly said, and later said it was “selfish behavior.”