The White House does not have a recording of President Trump’s call to the widow of a slain U.S. soldier, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday.
Sanders said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was in the room when Trump called Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, and refuted claims that Trump said “[Johnson] knew what he signed up for.”
“No,” she responded when asked if there was a recording of the phone call. “But there were serval people in the room from the administration on the call.”
Sanders added that Kelly was in the room and supported the president’s comments. “General Kelly was present for the call and thought it was completely appropriate. He thought the call was respectful and he thought that the president did the best job he could under those circumstances to offer condolences on the part of the country.”
The president came under fire Wednesday morning after Rep. Fredrica Wilson (D-Florida), who was with Johnson’s family when Trump called, accused the president of being insensitive in his comments to the Johnson family.
Wilson claims she overheard Trump tell Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for … but when it happens it hurts anyways.”
Cowanda Jones-Johnson, the soldier’s mother, told The Washington Post that “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”
President Trump tweeted Wednesday that Wilson “fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action” and added “I have proof.”
Wednesday afternoon, while speaking at the White House, Trump stood by his comments, “I didn’t say what that congresswoman said — didn’t say it at all — she knows it. I would like her to make the statement again because I did not say what she said.”
Rep. Wilson tweeted after Trump’s comments: “I still stand by my account of the call b/t @realDonaldTrump and Myeshia Johnson. That is her name, Mr. Trump. Not ‘the woman’ or ‘the wife.’”