U.S. President Donald Trump told the widow of an American soldier that “he knew what he signed up for… but when it happens it hurts,” when he died in action, according to reports.
Rep. Frederica Wilson said he made the remarks to Myeshia Johnson, the wife of U.S. Army Sgt. La David T Johnson, Tuesday afternoon before the Sergeant’s remains arrived in the United States.
“It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it,” she said, according to ABC News.
Johnson died in an attack on Niger on Oct. 4, along with three other Americans.
Johnson’s Special Forces group was assisting Nigerians on how to deal with terrorism and terrorist groups, according to U.S. military officials.
“David was a young man from our community who gave his life for our country. He’s a hero. I was in the car when President Trump called. He never said the word hero. He said to the wife, ‘Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into,’” Wilson told CBS News.
Myeshia, who is pregnant with their third child, and her children collected the coffin of her husband at Miami International Airport. Local politicians and officials lined up to honour him as his body was brought home.
Wilson told reporters that the comments made Myeshia break down in tears.
Trump’s phone call comes as the president has pulled bereaved military families into a painful political fight of his own making.
Earlier this week, he told reporters that “I think I’ve called every family of someone who’s died,” though that claim was disputed by the Associated Press.
WATCH: Trump retracts claim that Obama never called families of fallen soldiers
He also called into question former president Barack Obama’s actions, saying he didn’t call every fallen soldier’s family.
“You could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?” Trump asked on Fox News Tuesday morning.
Wednesday morning saw Trump take to Twitter to give his side of events, though the “proof” referenced has yet to be disclosed.
John Kelly, a Marine general under Obama, is Trump’s chief of staff. His son, Marine 2nd Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. John Kelly was not seen at Trump’s public events Tuesday.
Trump’s posture has been defensive in recent days after he was criticized for not reaching out right away to relatives of the soldiers killed in Niger. On Monday, Trump said he’d written letters that hadn’t yet been mailed; his aides says they had been awaiting information on the soldiers before proceeding.
The U.S. Department of Defense is investigating the attack in Niger.
*With files from the Associated Press