A Democratic Florida congresswoman became the latest target of a morning presidential twitter attack, with Donald Trump alleging Rep. Frederica S. Wilson “totally fabricated” details of his call to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger.
Trump called the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson on Tuesday afternoon, shortly before his body was returned to the United States during a ceremony at Miami International Airport. Wilson told several media outlets she was traveling with his widow, Myeshia Johnson, who took the call on her car’s sound system, allowing all passengers to overhear it.
Wilson said the commander in chief told Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for … but when it happens it hurts anyway,” according to reports.
Trump denied Wilson’s account Wednesday morning via his preferred method of delivering his message — often counterpunches at critics — directly to his supporters: Twitter.
He referred to Wilson only as “Democrat congresswoman,” then said she “totally fabricated” what he told Johnson.
In a twist that harkened back to his since-withdrawn claim that he had recorded private talks with the FBI director he fired, James Comey, Trump wrote he had proof of his claim Wilson mischaracterized his words.
Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
The flap with Wilson comes two days after Trump created a firestorm by falsely claiming past presidents never called the family members of fallen U.S. military troops. Those comments came during an impromptu Rose Garden joint press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; the Kentucky Republican also had been a recent target of morning Trump tweets before their fence-mending lunch meeting Monday.
His comments Monday about the emotion of making those calls started out striking a presidential tone.
“I always feel badly” when troops die in combat, he said. “The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed. It’s a very difficult thing.
“It gets to a point where, you know, you make four or five of them in one day — it’s a very, very tough day,” Trump said. “For me, that’s by far the toughest.”
But then he falsely attacked his predecessors: “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls.”
But other presidents have regularly made such calls, and have talked openly about how difficult those conversations were. Family members who got those calls tweeted immediately pointing out Trump’s stumble, as did former Obama Cabinet officials and White House aides.