By Michael Hernandez
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has proof a congresswoman's claims he told the widow of a slain army sergeant he knew "what he signed up for" are false.
"Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!," Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump did not provide the proof and the White House did not respond to Anadolu Agency’s request for clarity on the matter.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed there are not any recordings of the conversation, but said multiple people were present for the call, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Trump repeated his denial while speaking to reporters and said the telephone call was "a very nice conversation".
The president repeatedly told the widow of slain Sgt. La David T. Johnson he knew "what he signed up for" during a telephone call meant to convey his condolences, according to congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who said she was privy to the conversation.
Wilson told CNN she has a long history with the family, dating to when she was the principal of a school Johnson's father attended, and she was a mentor to the slain sergeant.
Johnson was one of four American service members killed in action in Niger during a deadly ambush by Daesh-affiliated fighters.
Wilson said she was traveling with Johnson's widow, Myeshia, en route to recover the soldier’s body when Trump called.
"He said, 'But you know he must've known what he signed up for,'" the Florida congresswoman told NBC News on Tuesday, recounting the three- to five-minute conversation she heard over speakerphone.
"Everyone knows when you go to war you could possibly not come back alive but you don't remind a grieving widow of that," Wilson said. "That's so insensitive."
Myeshia Johnson told the lawmaker Trump’s inability to do one thing stung her.
"She hung up the phone and said, 'He didn’t even remember his name,'" Wilson said Wednesday. "That’s the hurting part."
Wilson fired back at Trump's denial, calling him a "sick man", saying she has proof, too.
Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told the Washington Post that Trump "did disrespect my son" and she stood by Wilson's account of the call she said she was also a party to.
She declined to elaborate during a Facebook Messenger conversation with the newspaper.
The controversy follows Trump's false claim that "most" past presidents, including Barack Obama, failed to call the families of slain service members.
"A lot of them didn't make calls," he said Tuesday.
He later suggested that reporters ask Kelly if Obama called him after his son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
While making the statement to Fox News Radio, Trump acknowledged he does not "know what Obama's policy was".
Kelly has not commented publicly if he received a call from Obama, but the four-star general and his wife reportedly were seated at then-first lady Michelle Obama’s table during a breakfast for families whose children have been killed in action.