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Trump blasts congresswoman's claim that he told soldier's widow 'he knew what he signed up for'; lawmaker pushes back

After facing criticism for not calling the families of four soldiers who died in combat, President Trump reached out to one of the widows Tuesday and said her husband "knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens it hurts anyway," according to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).

The call between Trump and Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, lasted about five minutes, according to accounts that Wilson provided to local media

Wilson, a friend of the family, was in the car for the call, which happened before the fallen soldier's remains arrived at Miami International Airport.

"Yes, he said it," Wilson told the media. "It's so insensitive."

Trump's silence on the deaths of the soldiers, who were killed in combat in Niger on Oct. 6, generated controversy on Monday. When he was asked why he had not commented on their deaths, Trump responded by saying that President Obama and other presidents also had failed to reach out to families of servicemen killed in action. 

That comment drew rebukes from former Obama staffers, who noted the many times that Obama had called family members of soldiers killed in action. Alyssa Mastromonaco, a deputy chief of staff for Obama, tweeted that it was a lie.

"He's a deranged animal," she said of Trump.

On Tuesday, Trump brought Gen. John F. Kelly, his chief of staff, into the controversy, saying Kelly hadn't received a call from Obama when his son,  2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, 29, died in combat in 2010.

"As far as other presidents, I don't know, you could ask Gen. Kelly, did he get a call from Obama? I don't know what Obama's policy was," Trump said in an interview on Fox News Radio.

A White House official who demanded anonymity said that Obama did not call Kelly after the death. The official did not immediately say whether Kelly received a letter. 

On Wednesday morning, Trump responded to the claims on Twitter, saying Wilson "totally fabricated" the story. 

In an interview Wednesday morning with CNN, Wilson said several other people who were in the car also heard Trump's remark. "I have proof too," she said. "This man is a sick man."

Staff writer Noah Bierman contributed to this report.

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UPDATES

Oct. 18, 5:33 a.m.: This post was updated to add later comments from Wilson.

Oct. 18, 4:51 a.m.: This post was updated to add Trump's response 

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