*The White House said Friday it is “unfortunate” if the family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson was offended by President Trump’s remarks during a condolence call with his widow.
“If the spirit of which those comments were intended were misunderstood, that’s very unfortunate,” said White House press secretary press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“His comments were very sympathetic, very respectful, and that was the spirit in which the president intended them,” she continued. “If they were taken any other way, that’s certainly an unfortunate thing.”
Sanders’ comments come after the mother of the fallen soldier, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told the Washington Post this week: “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”
Jones-Johnson’s comments helped fuel the controversy that has enveloped the White House over Trump’s call. Trump and chief of staff John Kelly, who made a rare press briefing room appearance Thursday to quell the criticism, have focused their ire on Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.)
Wilson first revealed that Trump told Johnson’s widow, Myeshia, that her husband “knew what he was signing up for,” a remark that she said angered the widow.
Johnson was among four U.S. soldiers who were killed during an ambush in the West African nation of Niger.
Trump faced questions earlier this week about why he waited 12 days to speak about the incident. The president said he had done more than his predecessors to honor the families of fallen soldiers.