'He knew what he signed up for': Trump to soldier's widow

  • 19/10/2017

US President Donald Trump has allegedly told the widow of a soldier killed in an ambush in Niger that her husband "knew what he signed up for."

Florida congresswoman Frederica Wilson said she was in the car with Myeshia Johnson on Tuesday to meet the body of Johnson's husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, when Mr Trump called.

When asked by local radio if she indeed heard Mr Trump say that she answered: "Yeah, he said that. To me, that is something that you can say in a conversation, but you shouldn't say that to a grieving widow. That's so insensitive."

Sgt. Johnson was among four servicemen killed in the African nation of Niger earlier this month.

They died when militants thought to be affiliated with the Islamic State group ambushed them while they were patrolling in unarmored trucks with Nigerien troops.

Wilson, a Democrat, said she did not hear the entire conversation and Myeshia Johnson told her she couldn't remember everything that was said when asked it about it later.

Meanwhile, aides to former president Barack Obama have fired back at Mr Trump's claim past US presidents did not contact family members of soldiers who died in combat during their time in the White House.

Obama's former White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that Mr Obama would repeatedly "show his enormous respect ... for those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country" through various visits and meetings as well as phone calls and letters.

Mr Trump appeared to criticise his predecessors handling of the issue of American soldiers' deaths.

"The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. A lot of them didn't make calls," Mr Trump said.

But later, pressed on his claim, particularly about Mr Obama, Mr Trump retreated.

"I don't know if he did. No," Mr Trump said. "I was told that he didn't often, and a lot of presidents don't. They write letters ... I do a combination of both."