MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Controversy over the President Donald Trump’s phone call to the wife of Army Sergeant LaDavid Johnson led to multiple threats being called in to Congresswoman Frederica Wilson’s Washington DC office.
Congresswoman Wilson’s office alerted the Capitol Police, the Miami Gardens Police and the Threat Division of the US House of Representatives about the threats. Her office said she’s now receiving protection.
According to the military, Johnson’s Special Forces unit was assisting and advising Nigerians on dealing with terror groups. The U.S. and Niger forces in a joint patrol were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders when they were ambushed by 40-50 militants believed to be linked to the Islamic State group. Sgt. Johnson and three other soldiers were killed.
On Tuesday, Johnson returned home to Miami for the final time. His pregnant wife Myeshia – her heart broken – sobbed over his casket. But a little more than an hour before, Myeshia took a five-minute phone call from President Trump who called to express his condolences.
Congresswoman Wilson who was in the car with Johnson’s widow during the call said she was disturbed by what she heard.
“I heard him say, ‘Well he knew what he was signing up for but it still hurts’ and I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
The aunt of Sergeant Johnson who raised him after his mother died when he was a boy told the Washington Post that she backed up the congresswoman.
“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Cowanda Jones-Johnson told the Post.
Wednesday afternoon President Trump denied it all.
“I had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife, sounded like a lovely woman, did not say what that congresswoman said, didn’t say it at all. She knows it,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter:
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
He continued his Twitter attack at night.
At Wednesday’s White House press briefing, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the proof was that several administration officials heard the call and they said it was respectful and sympathetic. She went on to criticize Rep. Wilson’s actions.
“I think it’s appalling what the congresswoman has done and the way she’s politicized this issue, and the way that she’s trying to make this about something that it isn’t,” she said.
She added, “I think it is a disgrace to the media to try to portray an act of kindness like that and that gesture and try to make it into something that it isn’t.”
By late Wednesday Wilson, who’s known Sergeant Johnson and his family for years and remembers when he was part of her 5,000 Role Models for Excellence campaign, made clear she wanted to move past the phone call controversy and focus on the sacrifice of this young man killed at the hands of extremists while serving his country in Niger.
In a statement she said, “Rather than engage in a petty war of words with Mr. Trump, it is so much more important to embrace and support the families and honor these fallen heroes.”
Rep. Wilson is scheduled to be in Miami-Dade on Thursday.