Update 12 p.m.: Wilson has responded to Trump, insisting that she stands by her story and he'll have to produce his supposed proof:
I still stand by my account of the call b/t @realDonaldTrump and Myesha Johnson. That is her name, Mr. Trump. Not "the woman" or "the wife."— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 18, 2017
This past Monday, Donald Trump outright lied by claiming Barack Obama and other past presidents didn't bother to call the grieving families of soldiers killed in combat. Trump made the outrageous claim only because he'd been caught ignoring the deaths of four soldiers who died in Niger earlier this month.
So last night, the president finally got around to calling the families of those four men, including the widow of Miami Gardens Sgt. La David T. Johnson. The call did not go great.
"He was almost like joking. He said, 'He knew what he was getting into, but I guess it hurts anyway,'" said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, who was riding in a car with Johnson's widow as the call played on speaker phone. Wilson recounted the call on Morning Joe today. "He said it just matter-of-factly, just like anyone who signs up for military duty is signing up to die. It was horrible; it was insensitive; it was absolutely crazy and unnecessary. I was livid."
Johnson's widow, Myesha, who is pregnant, was crushed by the call, Wilson said.
"She was crying the whole time, and when she hung up, she looked at me and said, 'He didn't even remember his name. That's the hurtful part,'" Wilson said.
Once again caught in the spotlight as an empathy-free, ghoulish man-child, Trump this morning responded to Wilson's interview the only way he knows how: by lashing out at the messenger.
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
Proof! Now if Trump indeed has taped calls of his conversation with the widow and they show that Wilson made up the whole affair in an elaborate plot to embarrass the commander in chief at the expense of a woman who just lost her husband, that would be a major-league scandal. Wilson, who has represented the 24th District for six years, would have to resign on the spot in infamy.
But this isn't the first time Trump has boldly suggested to have taped a conversation, and last time it turned out to be utter bullshit. (Plus, taping his call with the widow of a martyred American hero would be very creepy and also completely illegal in Florida unless he obtained her consent first.)
The likelier truth is that Trump has begun a politicized war over calling the families of dead soldiers, and he's badly losing that particularly distasteful cultural skirmish. The AP this morning found several families of recently killed soldiers who never received calls or letters from Trump, which wouldn't even be worth reporting except that he stupidly made it a point of conflict by falsely hammering Obama and George W. Bush for the same thing.
For her part, Wilson says that she has known Johnson's family for years and that, in fact, the 25-year-old had joined her nonprofit, 5,000 Role Models of Excellence, as a child.
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Wilson says she plans to push Congress to investigate the four deaths, which happened as part of the U.S. fight against the terror group Boko Haram.
"I want answers surrounding his death. I want a complete investigation into what happened," she told Morning Joe. "Why was he missing for 48 hours? Why was he in an unarmored car? Why didn't they have appropriate weapons?... Sergeant Johnson was wonderful. He was smart, he was athletic, and he's married to the most wonderful woman who has two children and is with child. They are devastated."
Wilson has yet to respond to Trump's tweets claiming she invented the episode, but she told Morning Joe she doesn't have a political agenda by speaking up.
"Mr. Trump was extremely insensitive to that family. I will stick by that," she said. "I'm not trying to politicize it. It was a disgrace."