The Gold Star widow at the center of a national controversy over how President Trump handled his condolence call to her spoke publicly for the first time Monday. Stg. La David Johnson's widow Myeshia Johnson said on ABC's Good Morning America that Trump's tone in the phone call angered her and that the president "couldn't remember my husband's name."
After the interview aired, President Trump took to Twitter to defend his call to the fallen soldier's widow, saying he was "respectful" and did not forget the slain soldier's name. Monday's exchange was the latest in an ongoing dispute over how Trump responded to news that four service members were killed in the African nation of Niger.
Monday's appearance on Good Morning America was Johnson's first interview after a Democratic congresswoman accused Trump of being callous in the call by telling the widow that her husband "knew what he signed up for."
But Johnson confirmed Wilson's account on Monday, saying the congresswoman was a longtime friend who was with the family in the car when Trump called and listened on speakerphone. She said she had asked for the call to be put on speakerphone so relatives with her could hear.
"The president said that he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyway," Johnson said. She added: "The only way he could remember my husband's name was he told me he had my husband's report in front of him and that's when he actually said La David."
On Twitter, Trump said: "I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!"
The four U.S. soldiers were killed Oct. 4 in Niger when they were attacked by militants tied to the Islamic State. Nearly three weeks after the ambush took place, there are conflicting accounts on what really happened to the servicemen. Military officials and the Trump administration have provided few details about how the events unfolded.