Political News

Mother of soldier killed in Niger on Trump: 'He's human just like us'

Posted December 18, 2017 7:03 a.m. EST

— The mother of a soldier who was killed during an ambush in Niger expressed forgiveness toward President Donald Trump, who was accused of being insensitive during a condolence call to the soldier's wife in October.

C. Johnson, the mother of Sgt. La David Johnson, told CNN's "New Day" Monday that the call, which occurred in a limousine while the family was accepting Johnson's body from Dover Air Force Base, was bad timing.

"I think it was just wrong timing, she said. "He did say it, but I don't think he (was) meaning any, trying to throw it in Myeshia's face."

In October, Trump engaged in a public feud with Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, over her claim that he told Johnson's widow that "he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt."

C. Johnson told "New Day" that when they were receiving La David Johnson's body, no one knew what to say to Johnson's grieving widow.

"No one knows what to say to Myeshia, nor me, because everybody is trying to understand the same thing that we're trying to understand -- what happened out there on that battlefield," she said. "So, you know, he's human just like us."

C. Johnson, however, said she was more concerned about laying her son to rest than engaging in a social media spat.

"I wasn't really concerned about that conversation with President Trump and Myeshia," Johnson said. "I think it just wasn't time for the conversation. I think if we were at home and sitting in the house, eating and drinking, and he called, it would have been a little bit more different."

Multiple officials familiar with the investigation into the October ambush in Niger that killed four US soldiers tell CNN that the fact finding part of the investigation has concluded but the full report is not yet finished. Investigators have not backed away from their earlier assessment, which CNN has previously reported, that there is no evidence that Sgt. La David Johnson, who went missing for nearly 48-hours, was ever in enemy hands and nor has there been evidence that Johnson was executed.

A media report published Sunday offers details of what appears to be the medical examiner's report on the death of Johnson, which has already been completed, but not the final overall investigative report on the incident, which is not expected to be completed and made public until early 2018. CNN is working to obtain the details of the medical examiner's report.

During their appearance on "New Day," C. Johnson and La David's sister, Richshama, both said they were unaware of Sunday's reports on updates on investigation until they saw them on social media.

"They haven't explained to us. We find out everything via social media. They haven't talked to our family about where was his whereabouts. They haven't briefed us the proper way they were supposed to," C. Johnson said.

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Sheryll Klinkel told CNN in a statement that: "The investigation regarding the Niger incident is still ongoing. The Department of Defense is committed to a complete and thorough investigation into the deaths of our four service members and we want to ensure the families of those affected have the facts prior to public release of the final investigation."

Richshama Johnson said she wants to know why his fellow soldiers left him on the battlefield.

"In the Army we are taught never to leave a fallen comrade. They left him. Being a veteran and knowing the procedures, they left him," she said.