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“He couldn’t remember my husband’s name,” Sgt. Johnson’s widow says of President Trump

Myeshia Johnson, the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson and mother of his three children, appeared Monday on ABC News’ ‘Good Morning America.’
Myeshia Johnson, the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson and mother of his three children, appeared Monday on ABC News’ ‘Good Morning America.’ Video frame grab

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson’s account of President Donald Trump’s condolence call to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson and mother of his three children, was completely accurate, Johnson told ABC News "Good Morning America" Monday morning.

But that’s not what hurt her the most.

“He couldn’t remember my husband’s name,” Myeshia Johnson told GMA’s George Stephanopoulos. “The only way he remembered my husband’s name ... because he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him and that’s when he actually said, ‘La David.’ I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name. That’s what hurt me the most. Because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risks his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?”

President Trump disputed this on Twitter at 8:30 a.m.: “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from the beginning, without hesitation!”

Johnson, 25, and three other soldiers were killed in an ambush while on an advisory mission in Niger on Oct. 4. The ambush is under investigation.

While Myeshia wants her own questions about the ambush answered, what she really wanted was just to see her husband’s body, whole or in part.

“Why couldn’t I see my husband? Every time I asked to see my husband, they wouldn’t let me,” she said. “They told me that he’s in a severe wrap, that I wouldn’t be able to see him. I need to see him so I will know that it’s my husband. I don’t know nothing. They won’t show me a finger, a head. I know my husband’s body from head to toe. And they won’t let me see anything. I don’t know what’s in that box. It could be empty for all I know. But I need to see my husband. I haven’t seen him since he came home.”

La David Johnson’s funeral was Saturday.

Myeshia and La David Johnson have known each other since they were 6 years old. La David’s upper chest sported a large tattoo that read “MYESHIA.” They have two children and Myeshia’s pregnant with a daughter due Jan. 29.

“I want to tell her how awesome her dad was and what a great father he was,” Myeshia Johnson said. “And, how he died as a hero.”

Wilson, a Miami Democrat, has known La David Johnson’s family since before his birth. One of his uncles was an elementary school student under Wilson. The same year La David Johnson was born, Wilson began the 5000 Role Models of Excellence program, which Johnson went through and got his younger cousins to join. Wilson came to know all of them personally.

The Miami Gardens Representative addressed the issue while attending at a hearing she organized to get expert opinions on what needs to change to protect frail and dependent people in the future. Mental health, emergency operations, fire rescue an

That’s why Wilson was with the Johnson family in the limousine Tuesday when President Trump phoned Myeshia. Wilson said Trump told Myeshia that La David “knew what he signed up for.” Trump disputed Wilson’s account, calling her “wacky” on Twitter.

But Myeshia Johnson said Wilson was “100 percent correct” and heard the call because it was on speakerphone.

“Why would we fabricate something like that?” Myeshia Johnson said.

She quoted Trump as saying, “’He knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway.’ It made me cry because I was very angry at the tone in his voice, how he said it.”

Stephanopoulos asked Johnson, “Is there anything you’d like to say to the president now?” She hesitated a second, then said, “No. I don’t have nothing to say to him.”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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