This story has been updated.
The mother of fallen U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson said last Wednesday that during a call with her son’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, President Donald Trump said the soldier “knew what he signed up for.”
Trump has since denied he said those words and told members of the Senate Finance Committee, “I had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife, who sounded like a wonderful woman. I didn’t say what that congresswoman said. Didn’t say it at all, she knows it.”
The initial account from Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, was first described by Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, last Tuesday.
Trump denied Wilson’s account in a Twitter exchange last week.
After she was pressed from reporters, Johnson said, “Yes, he did state that comment,” the New York Times reported.
The fallen soldier’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, also affirmed her mother-in-law’s comments on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview with Wilson.
When asked if she had anything to say to Trump now, Johnson said, “No, I don't have nothing to say to him.”
Here are 7 things to know about Sgt. La David Johnson:
He was from Florida.
Johnson lived in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Hours after Johnson was identified as a fallen soldier in the Oct. 4 attack in Niger, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement:
Ann and I join Floridians across the state in honoring the lives of U.S. Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson and the other three U.S. soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and our freedom. We will never forget their heroic actions and our hearts break for their families and loved ones. We will continue to pray for the safety of all our brave military members across our country and abroad.
He was married and was expecting his third child with his wife.
Johnson is survived by his widow Myeshia Johnson.
He was the father of a 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.
They were set to welcome their third child in January, according to the New York Times.
He was part of the “5,000 Role Models of Excellence” program.
Wilson founded the program in 1993 in an effort to recruit adult male role models and train them to help “at-risk” youth.
According to its official website, the current program serves 103 schools within Miami-Dade County Public Schools, has more than 8,000 participants and more than 6,000 volunteers.
“He was a true role model,” Wilson told the Miami Herald about Johnson. She added that his cousins, who also went into the program, followed his example.
The program has launched a scholarship in his honor to ensure Johnson’s family, including his three children, will be able to attend college.
You can contribute at this GoFundMe page.
He joined the Army in 2014.
According to MilitaryTimes.com, Johnson enlisted in January 2014 as a wheeled-vehicle mechanic.
Before joining the Army, he was known as the “Wheelie King.”
When he was a Walmart employee in Miami, Florida, many in the community knew Johnson as the local stunt rider who wore “wildly-colored socks” and donned a T-shirt with “Wheelie King” written on it, Miami’s Local 10 News reported.
After news of his death was announced, some remembered him as the “Wheelie King” on social media.
He was the fourth U.S. soldier identified in the Niger ambush.
On Saturday, Oct. 14, the Pentagon released Johnson’s name as the fourth soldier killed in the Oct. 4 attack.
Johnson’s body was recovered two days later, on Oct. 6.
He was 25 years old.
The three other soldiers killed in the ambush were Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright.
It’s the first time American forces have been killed and wounded in combat in the country, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said during a news conference.
The soldiers were wounded while conducting a mission in support of Nigerian security forces, according to White.
They were attached to the Green Berets, which included the Nigerian patrol, and were ambushed by Islamic militants near the Niger border with Mali, according to The New York Times.
Johnson’s awards and accolades include:
- Army Achievement Medal
- Army Good Conduct Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Medal
- Army Service Ribbon
- Army Parachutist Bade
- Driver and Mechanic Badge
- Marksmanship Qualification Badge
- Canadian Parachutist Wings
More about Johnson at MilitaryTimes.com.