This is the statement that Donald Trump never gave. Politico reported on October 18 that White House staff had drafted a statement after the deaths of four U.S. military servicemen in Niger on October 4. According to Politico, this is the statement:
Melanie and I are heartbroken at the news that three U.S. service members were killed in Niger on October 4 while providing guidance and assistance to Nigerien security force counter-terror operations.
We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of these brave American soldiers and patriots. They will remain in our thoughts and prayers.
We are also praying for the two U.S. service members who were injured in the incident. We wish them a complete and swift recovery.
The heroic Americans who lost their lives yesterday did so defending our freedom and fighting violent extremisim in Niger. Our administration and our entire nation are deeply grateful for their sacrifice, for their service, and for their patriotism.
The Politico report goes on to say that isn’t clear why the statement, which went through the Defense Department and the National Security Council wasn’t released. The article continues that the staffer who wrote the statement hung up on a Politico reporter.
The issue of Trump’s reaction to the deaths of the four Green Berets rumbles on. On October 17, Trump called the widow of Sergeant La David T. Johnson. Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was present during the phone call and said that Trump said something to the effect of, “Your guy knew what he signed up for, but it hurts regardless.”
Trump denied Wilson’s accusation in a tweet saying, “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” Rep. Wilson later told CNN that Trump didn’t even know Sgt. Johnson’s name. While Rep. Wilson’s claims have been backed up by a family friend of Sgt. Johnson’s, Cowanda Jones-Johnson.