WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Wednesday morning on Twitter that he never told the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson that the soldier "knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens, it hurts anyway."
"Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof)," the tweet said. "Sad!"
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
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, told reporters that Trump made the "insensitive" remark while speaking to Johnson's widow during a telephone conversation.
Wilson fired back at Trump, telling CNN that she had proof, too.
"This man is a sick man," she said. "He's cold-hearted and he feels no pity or sympathy for anyone."
Johnson, a 25-year-old father of two, was killed Oct. 4 while fighting in Niger.
The conversation between Trump and Myeisha Johnson took place Tuesday, before the soldier's body arrived at Miami International Airport.
"When she actually hung up the phone, she looked at me and said, 'He didn't even know his name,'" Wilson said. "Now that's the worst part."
Trump affirmed his position when speaking with reporters later Wednesday.
"I did not say what she said," Trump said. "I had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife, who sounded like a lovely woman."
Wilson said on Twitter that she stands by her account of the call.
La David Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, vouched for Wilson, telling the Washington Post that Trump "did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband."
Wilson, who was traveling to the funeral home with the family at the time of the call, told Local 10 News Washington bureau chief Ross Palombo that Trump referred to La David Johnson as "your guy."
The congresswoman said she wasn't the only person in the car who heard the conversation.
"There's no reason to lie about a telephone call," Wilson said. "What Mr. Trump needs to be concerned about is keeping us out of war."
Wilson said Trump informed the media that he was going to call the widow. She said reporters waiting at the funeral home asked her what she heard.
"And then I told them what he said," Wilson said, adding that Trump "did all the talking."
Wilson said later in a statement that her account of the phone call has been confirmed by Johnson's relatives.
"Despite President Trump's suggestion that I have recanted my statement or misstated what he said, I stand firmly by my original account of his conversation with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson. Moreover, this account has been confirmed by family members who also witnessed Mr. Trump's incredible lack of compassion and sensitivity," the congresswoman said.
Wilson said she hasn't had any discussion with the family about what Trump should do next.
"But I would like to make a suggestion to the president going forward," Wilson said. "If he ever has to do this, perform this task again, I would suggest to him that he call up and he say, "I'm so sorry. Your son, your daughter, paid the ultimate price for our nation, and I'm going to send you a letter in the mail.'"