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Trump Blasts Congresswoman as Sgt. Johnson Laid to Rest

Sgt. Donald Young places a U.S. flag over the casket of Sgt. La David Johnson during his burial service in Hollywood, Fla., on Oct. 21. Johnson was one of four Green Berets killed Oct. 4 by Islamic extremists in Niger. (Matias Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)
Sgt. Donald Young places a U.S. flag over the casket of Sgt. La David Johnson during his burial service in Hollywood, Fla., on Oct. 21. Johnson was one of four Green Berets killed Oct. 4 by Islamic extremists in Niger. (Matias Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)

President Donald Trump lashed out again Saturday at a Florida Congresswoman hours before she joined mourners at the funeral of Army Sgt. La David Johnson.

In an early morning Tweet, Trump said "I hope the Fake News Media keeps talking about Wacky Congresswoman Wilson in that she, as a representative, is killing the Democrat Party!”

Trump also re-tweeted an old photo of Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, a long-time friend of the Johnson family, with then-President Barack Obama, adding, “People get what is going on!” Trump then left the White House for the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.

Johnson was killed with three other members of the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group in an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger. Two other troops were wounded in the incident, which was the worst in terms of combat casualties of Trump’s presidency.

Later Saturday morning, 24-year-old Myeshia Johnson, the soldier’s widow, clutched the folded U.S. flag that had draped her husband’s coffin and leaned forward to kiss the coffin before the burial at Hollywood Memorial Gardens near Fort Lauderdale.

Earlier, there was a private memorial service at the Christ the Rock Community Church in Cooper City, Florida, west of Fort Lauderdale.

Johnson’s photograph was displayed near the casket, along with photographs of the three other soldiers killed in the Niger ambush -- Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia.

By order of Gov. Rick Scott, R-Florida, U.S. flags across the state were at half-staff in Johnson’s memory and a police escort led the funeral entourage.

Terkiya McGriff, who told the Miami Herald she was Johnson's sister on his father's side, said she had spoken to him on Facetime before he left for Niger. “I'm not going to ever have my brother anymore,” she told the newspaper.

“He wanted a better life for his family and that’s what he did,” Johnson’s best friend, Donald Young, told the mourners, according to Fort Lauderdale’s Sun Sentinel newspaper.

“You’re gonna’ be missed, man,” Young said. “Thank you for everything you did for your family and thank you for everything you did for this country.”

Rep. Wilson has charged that Trump was insensitive in a condolence phone call Tuesday to the soldier’s pregnant widow, who is expecting the couple’s third child in January.

Trump said that Sgt. Johnson “knew what he was getting into but it still hurts,” according to Wilson. She has said that she was in the car with the Johnson family when Trump made the call and heard it on speaker phone.

Trump has denied making the remarks and charged that Wilson “fabricated” her account of the phone call.

At a White House briefing Thursday, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, Trump’s Chief of Staff, accused Wilson of “selfish behavior” in recounting the phone call.

Kelly also accused Wilson of grandstanding at the dedication of a building in Miami to two slain FBI agents by claiming that she was instrumental in raising construction funds.

However, a video found by the Florida Sun Sentinel appeared to refute Kelly’s accusation. At the dedication, Wilson made no mention of fund raising and instead praised the two slain agents. Wilson said later that she was not in Congress when the funds were raised.

In an interview with the Washington Post published Saturday, Rep. Wilson said that she was in a car with the Johnson family on Monday on the way to the airport to greet the return of Sgt. Johnson’s remains when Trump made the phone call.

Wilson again said that Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he was getting into.”

“I was shocked when I heard the statement and shocked that a president of the United States could be so callous and cavalier toward a grieving young wife and mother,” Wilson said.

“Then I grew angry, especially when I saw Myeshia’s heartbreak all over again. Sgt. Johnson was only 25. He is the father of two with a baby on the way,” Wilson said.

“The purpose of such a call is to offer condolences and honor the immeasurable sacrifice that he and his family have made in service to this country. President Trump’s remarks had the opposite effect.”

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.