The pregnant widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was among four soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month, says President Donald Trump‘s condolence call only made her pain worse.
Myeshia Johnson, 24, spoke out for the first time on Good Morning America Monday and confirmed that Trump said her husband “knew what he signed up for, but when it happens it hurts anyway” – remarks that caused a media firestorm last week when U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson revealed them publicly.
“It made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it,” Myeshia said.
“He couldn’t remember my husband’s name.” She added of Trump: “I heard him stumbling 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?”
The White House has denied Wilson’s account of the phone call. And, within an hour of the interview airing on ABC, Trump responded once again on Twitter – and disputed the pregnant widow’s version of events.
“I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!” he wrote.
La David Johnson was laid to rest over the weekend in a private funeral service in which nearly 1,200 mourners gathered to remember the 25-year-old who was killed in an October 4th ambush in the West African country.
“I want the world to know how great of a soldier my husband was and a loving and caring father he was to our family,” Myeshia said, add that she had known Johnson since he was six years old.[/quote
Johnson was initially missing in the wake of the attack, becoming separated from the 12-member team as they were ambushed by 50 ISIS fighters, CNN reports. Nigerian troops found Johnson’s body nearly two days later about a mile from the scene of the ambush.
“I want to know why it took them 48 hours to find my husband,” Myeshia said during the interview, noting that she has been told very little about her husband’s death. “Why couldn’t I see my husband? Every time I asked too see my husband, they wouldn’t let me.”
Myeshia’s comments come as Trump finds himself embroiled in a heated battle with Wilson, a Democrat. Wilson criticized Trump for his words during the call to Myeshia. Trump denied Wilson’s claim, tweeting on Friday, “The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!”
However, Wilson is a personal friend of the Johnson family and was in the car when Myeshia took the president’s call on speakerphone. Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, confirmed Wilson’s account of the call and told The Washington Post that “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”On Monday, Myeshia said Wilson’s account was “100 percent correct.”
“Why would we fabricate something like that?” she asked.
Trump first denied the statements last Wednesday, telling reporters that day,“ I didn’t say what that congresswoman said, didn’t say it at all, she knows it.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last Wednesday called Wilson’s account of the conversation was “disgraceful” and “disgusting,” but never explicitly denied that the president told the young widow her husband “knew what he signed up for.”
Wilson has continued to stand by her account. She has also criticized Trump for referring to Myeshia in comments as “the woman” or “the wife,” and for calling Johnson “your guy” in the president’s call to Myeshia.
Story Behind the Story: PEOPLE Editor Corroborates Natasha Stoynoff’s Allegations Against Donald Trump
However, in Wednesday’s press briefing, Sanders said that “just because the president said ‘your guy,’ I don’t think he didn’t know his name.” Meanwhile, Trump is facing additional criticism for falsely claiming past presidents did not personally reach out to the families of slain service members.
This article originally appeared in People.com