Trump: Dead soldier ‘knew what he signed up for’

Donald Trump is in hot water again after reportedly telling the wife of a soldier killed in action that “he knew what he signed up for”.

Sgt La David Johnson, a Special Forces soldier, was among four US soldiers who were killed serving in Niger.

US President Mr Trump phoned Sgt Johnson’s pregnant widow Myeshia Johnson and spoke to her for about five minutes, according to ABC affiliate WPLG Local 10 in Miami.

The conversation happened shortly before Mrs Johnson and the couple’s two children – a two-year-old son and six-year-old daughter – arrived at the airport to meet her husband’s coffin.

With her was Frederica Wilson, a Democrat congresswoman for Florida.

Video:His widow grieves as Sgt Johnson comes home

Ms Wilson told WPLG that Mr Trump had said: “(Sgt Johnson) knew what he signed up for…but when it happens it hurts anyway.”

She later tweeted: “Sgt La David Johnson is a hero.

“(Donald Trump) does not possess the character, empathy or grace to be president of the United States.”

A former Walmart employee, Sgt Johnson enlisted in January 2014 and defied the odds to become a decorated member of the prestigious 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

But the 25-year-old was killed on 4 October after his group was ambushed by more than 50 Islamist militants.

He was initially left behind during the evacuation and it was nearly two days later that his body was retrieved.

Mr Trump was playing golf as Sgt Johnson’s body arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on 7 October.

Image:Donald Trump has been criticised for what he said to an army widow

Mr Trump’s phone conversation with Mrs Johnson comes just days after he was criticised for saying previous presidents had not called families of fallen services personnel.

He told NBC: “President Obama I think probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t.

“I don’t know, that’s what I was told.

“All I can do, all I can do is ask my generals.

“Other presidents did not call. They’d write letters. And some presidents didn’t do anything.

“But I like the combination of, I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter.”

As controversial as his comments were, some critics say he made them to distract attention from what happened to the four soldiers in Niger, which has not yet been fully explained.

The others killed in the Niger attack were Staff Sgt Bryan C. Black, 35, of Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Ohio, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Georgia.

The White House said Mr Trump had called all four families involved and “offered condolences on behalf of a grateful nation and assured them their families’ extraordinary sacrifice to the country will never be forgotten”.