Donald Trump’s chief of staff says he is ‘stunned’ and ‘broken-hearted’ by the criticism of Trump’s call to the family of an Army sergeant killed in Niger.
John Kelly told reporters at the White House that the president had expressed his condolences ‘in the best way that he could’.
He said: ‘It stuns me that a member of congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred.’
It comes after Donald Trump has said the story about him telling a pregnant war widow her husband ‘knew what he signed up for’ is made up.
The president had tweeted in defense: ‘Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!’
Trump came under fire for the alleged comments made to the Myeshia Johnson, the wife of Sgt. LA David Johnson, 25, who was one of the four US special forces soldiers killed.
The president called Mrs Johnson, a grieving widow pregnant with her late husband’s child, to give his condolences.
According to Rep. Frederica Wilson, who was sitting beside Mrs Johnson during the call, Trump told the grieving widow that her husband ‘knew what he signed up for… but when it happens it hurts anyway.’
Rep. Wilson, a Florida congresswoman, says she was in the car with Myeshia Johnson on the way to Miami International Airport to meet the body of Johnson’s husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, when Trump called.
Wilson says she heard part of the conversation on speakerphone.
When asked by Miami station WPLG if she indeed heard 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.’
She added: ‘That’s so insensitive.’
Sgt. Johnson was among four servicemen killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month.
Wilson says she didn’t hear the entire conversation and Myeshia Johnson told her she couldn’t remember everything that was said.Let's