Trump calls lawmaker ‘wacky,’ says she told ‘total lie’ about military call
President Donald Trump on Thursday again rebutted a Florida congresswoman’s account of a call between him and the widow of a soldier killed in Niger, accusing her of listening in on the conversation and telling a “total lie” to the media.
“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!” the president tweeted late Thursday.
The comments come as another direct rebuke of Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, who on Tuesday said that during a call with the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, Trump had said that “he knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway.”
Trump on Wednesday morning quickly denied the claims, saying Wilson “totally fabricated” the comments and that he had “proof” to the contrary — proof he has yet to unveil. Wilson returned fire by calling Trump “a liar” and saying that the conversation had been put on speakerphone and overheard by four witnesses.
“The sad part about it is, he didn’t know La David’s name,” Wilson told POLITICO on Wednesday.
Cowanda Jones-Johnson, the mother of the soldier’s mother, told The Washington Post Wednesday that she was present during the call and that she stood by Wilson’s description.
The White House said Wednesday that it did not have a recording of the conversation.
The nasty exchange between public officials ignited a furor over the White House’s response to fallen military officers, just days after Trump insinuated that his predecessors had not always extended the same courtesies to military families while in office.
White House chief of staff John Kelly on Thursday delivered an impassioned defense of the president’s conversation with the Johnson family, but also didn’t deny that Trump uttered the words that Wilson said he used. Kelly did rebuke Wilson, calling her “selfish” for criticizing the president’s words during a condolence call.
“I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing,” he told reporters at the White House press briefing. “A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife — and in his way tried to express that opinion that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero.”