Tags: Donald Trump | Trump Administration | john kelly | remarks | army widow | respectful | white house

WH: Kelly Felt Trump's Remarks to Widow Were 'Respectful'

WH: Kelly Felt Trump's Remarks to Widow Were 'Respectful'
White House chief of staff John Kelly (Melina Mara/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 October 2017 04:21 PM

White House chief of staff John Kelly thought President Donald Trump's remarks in a call to the widow of a Green Beret slain by Islamic State terrorists in Niger were "completely appropriate" and "respectful," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.

"Gen. Kelly was present for the call and thought it was completely appropriate," Sanders told reporters at the daily briefing.

"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."

Trump has no recording of Tuesday's call to Myeshia Johnson, 24, of Miami Gardens, Florida, but Kelly was among "several people in the room from the administration who were on the call," Sanders said.

Kelly, who became chief of staff in July, is a retired Marine Corps general whose son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Trump referenced Kelly's situation Tuesday in arguing former President Barack Obama did not call every Gold Star family in explaining why he had not yet reached out to the family of the dead Green Beret, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, sooner.

President Trump's remarks to Johnson's pregnant widow Tuesday were slammed as insensitive by Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla.

Wilson charged that Trump told Mrs. Johnson of her slain husband: "He knew what he signed up for . . . but when it happens it hurts anyway."

The four-term representative was in a limousine with Johnson when President Trump called. They were on their way to meet the slain Green Beret's body, which had arrived at Miami International Airport.

La David Johnson was killed with three others in an Oct. 4 ambush by 50 ISIS terrorists in Niger.

Two other Berets were wounded — and four Nigerian soldiers also died in the attack.

Johnson's body was left behind. It was found two days later — and the Pentagon was investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.

The Johnsons also have a 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.

Trump took to Twitter Wednesday to rip Wilson's attack:

She later responded:

At the briefing, Sanders told reporters the Defense Department provided the information on Johnson's death last Thursday and was confirmed by the White House Military Office on Monday.

Letters were drafted to Johnson's widow over the weekend — and they were mailed once all the information was confirmed.

The call with Myeshia Johnson was scheduled Monday for the following day, Sanders said.

"As accounted by multiple people in the room" President Trump was "completely respectful, very sympathetic and expressed the condolences of himself and the rest of the country," she told reporters.

He "thanked the family for their service, commended them for having an American hero in their family — and I don't know how you could take that any other way."

Sanders also attacked the press for its coverage of the matter, saying that it was "a disgrace of the media to try to portray an act of kindness like that and that gesture and to try to make it into something that it isn't."

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Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly thought President Donald Trump's remarks in a call to the widow of a Green Beret slain by Islamic State terrorists in Niger were "completely appropriate" and "respectful."
john kelly, remarks, army widow, respectful, white house
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2017-21-18
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 04:21 PM
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