Just days after Donald Trump got into a Twitter spat with the grieving family of one of the four special forces soldiers killed in Niger, another widow has come forward to praise the president for his ‘brave’ and ‘gracious’ call.
Michelle Black’s husband Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black was killed alongside Sgt. La David Johnson and two fellow officers, during an ambush by 50 ISIS terrorists outside a remote village in Niger on October 4.
But while Johnson’s widow Myeshia has been critical of Trump for allegedly forgetting her husband’s name when he called to offer his condolences, Michelle said she was grateful for the call.
Michelle Black’s (left) husband Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black (right) was killed alongside Sgt. La David Johnson and two fellow officers, during an ambush by 50 ISIS terrorists outside a remote village in Niger on October 4
Happier days: Michelle is pictured with Bryan and their two songs in an old family photo during a trip to Disneyland
Black said she was especially glad Trump had spoken with her two sons (pictured with their dad) as the ‘excitement from that made it a little better, even if it was just for a minute’
‘I’m very grateful that he called and he spoke to the kids. And I think that the excitement from that made it a little better, even if it was just for a minute,’ she told Fox News, adding that she was aware about the controversy surrounding his call to Mrs Johnson.
‘So, yeah he was very gracious and I appreciate anyone who calls cause, like I said, that takes quite a bit of bravery to call into that kind of situation.’
Trump had come under fire for his treatment of Myeshia Johnson after she said he was ‘stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name and that’s what hurt me most,’ she said.
Johnson was so stunned by the call, she claimed, that she didn’t respond to the president. She says she left the call feeling even worse than before.
Johnson’s widow Myeshia (right) has been critical of Trump for allegedly forgetting her husband’s name when he called to offer his condolences, Michelle (left) said she was grateful for the call
Trump tweeted minutes after Mrs Johnson critized his call that he had a ‘very respectful conversation’ and said Sgt. Johnson’s name ‘without hesitation!’ – directly contradicting the widow
Challenge! Trump immediately disputed Mrs Johnson’s recollection of events, insisting he was respectful and knew Sgt Johnson’s name
Johnson said she was ‘very, very upset’ after the call and that it ‘made me cry even worse.’
The president has quickly pounced on her comments on Twitter.
‘I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Army Specialist Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!’ he tweeted after the interview ended.
Hollywood star Tom Hanks hit out at the president for his response, calling it ‘one of the biggest c**k-ups on the planet Earth’ after the actor was honored by the National Archives Foundation on Saturday night.
CNN anchor Don Lemon also delivered an emotionally charged plea to Trump to beg him to stop bullying the pregnant widow.
Meanwhile, Michelle Black is focusing on her own family, her nine-year-old and 11-year-old sons in the wake of the tragedy.
From left, Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Sgt. La David Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright were killed in Niger when a joint patrol of American and Niger forces was ambushed by militants believed linked to ISIS
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford took questions from reporters about the Niger operation during a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday, but had few answers
But she wants the world to know her husband was more than just a soldier. He was a father, a husband and spoke three languages, including the local dialect in Niger.
‘I know that I married a true hero, whether it would’ve been on the battlefield or just in life in general. When you have true moral integrity and you care that much for other people that you’re willing to put your life on the line,’ she said, ‘you’re a hero whether it’s over there or here.’
Officials believe that the four American special forces were deliberately stalled by a village elder to give the militants enough time to launch the ambush.
The group of 12 American forces had accompanied 30 Nigerien forces to an area about 85 kilometers north of the capital Niamey on a routine reconnaissance mission on October 3, when a dramatic new order came through to kill or capture a top ISIS target, officials told ABC News.
They were never able to track down the target, but the convoy of 6-8 vehicles, which included three American, stopped at the remote village of Tongo Tongo after the long night of patrolling, at 11am the next day, a survivor of the attack said.
The meeting with the village, which is seen as supportive of ISIS, is a routine part of the Green Beret mission. But after the meeting, officials say village elders attempted to stall the troops from leaving.
The four American special forces killed fighting in Niger were ambushed by 50 ISIS terrorists after they were stalled by a village elder in Tongo Tongo, a survivor said
Myeshia Johnson is pictured greeting her husband’s casket at Dover Air Force Base on October 17
The survivor, who has not been named, told ABC: ‘Something was off’.
Once they did leave, they were ambushed.
Militants attacked the American forces with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns from military vehicles.
The solders dismounted from their vehicles and began returning fire, but as it became clear they were outnumbered and outgunned, they got back in their trucks and retreated a mile before they were attacked again.
Officials say the Americans were trapped in a kill zone.
US forces waited more than an hour after the ambush to call for help, officials said. When they finally did, a drone was overhead within minutes.
French Mirage fighter jets arrived an hour after later and evacuated two injured troops and bodies of Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright.
But the body of Sgt. La David Johnson was not recovered for a further 48 hours.
Officials said that the two separate ambush sites could explain why Sgt. Johnson’s body was found more than a mile from the other dead and injured troops.
It appears that the Green Berets and special forces did not have any drones overhead or surveillance during the meeting in a move which appears to have put themselves at risk in a bid to win the trust of local residents, officials said.