This week, a Florida congresswoman came out swinging at President Donald Trump’s comments about terrorism and the death of a soldier from Florida in the line of duty.
Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who appeared on Trump’s “The Apprentice” reality show back in 2004, released an audio recording of the president talking to staff after a terrorist attack in Niger left four American soldiers dead.
“What happens is now they flee and they flee to Africa. And they flee to Niger and countries around there,” Trump said in the recording which was first aired by MSNBC. “And that’s how these young people get attacked. And they got attacked by 50 real fighters,” Trump said about the 12 Army special operations soldiers who were ambushed by 50 militants.
“So it’s a rough business. I wouldn’t — I don’t think I’d want to be a terrorist right now,” Trump said as his staff laughed. “It’s not a good life.”
“The reason they’re there is because we forced them out, and it’s not nearly as many, it’s not nearly as intense, but it’s pretty intense, you see that happening. So that’s that,” Trump added.
This drew fire from U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who clashed with Trump on the matter last year.
“I wish I could say that I’m surprised by President Trump’s attempt to make light of a tragic event that led to the deaths of four American heroes, but I am not,” Wilson said on Monday. “It is appalling, but this is the same man, after all, who told the widow of my constituent, Sgt. La David Johnson, during his so-called condolence call that her husband knew what he was signing up for. The recording is yet another example of how unfit Mr. Trump is to serve as our nation’s commander-in-chief and how he cannot resist any opportunity to massage his insatiable ego by taking false credit. Unlike the four men who lost their lives much too soon, hero is a word that will never be used to describe him.
“Sgt. Johnson’s family is still waiting for answers about how La David got separated from his unit during the deadly ambush in Niger. I am more determined than ever to push for an investigation into what happened and will not stop until all of our questions have been answered,” Wilson added.
Last October, Wilson appeared on CNN and weighed in on the deaths of four soldiers--including Johnson--in Niger earlier that month. Wilson said to CNN that Trump told Johnson's widow that the soldier “knew what he signed up for."
"Basically he said, 'Well, I guess he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt,' " Wilson said, insisting she heard part of the conversation over a speaker phone with the family. "That's what he said."
Trump fired back on Twitter after Wilson appeared on CNN.
"Democrat congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof),” Trump posted. “Sad!"
A longtime state legislator who was first elected to Congress in 2010, Wilson has been a leading voice on Capitol Hill on expanding the war on terror into Africa.
Back in December 2016, the House advanced Wilson’s measure to take on Boko Haram.
Wilson sponsored a measure mandating the State and Defense departments hammer our a five-year plan to aid the Nigerian government and other international partners battling Boko Haram which is responsible for 20,000 deaths and for creating a refugee crisis in Nigeria.
In recent years, Wilson has been one of the more vocal critics of Boko Haram and a high profile supporter of bringing attention to that terrorist group’s kidnapping of girls and young women. Wilson returned to that theme when her bill was passed at the end of 2016.
“Boko Haram captured my attention and the headlines when the terrorist group kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from their dormitory rooms 968 days ago,” Wilson said. “For most of the world, the Chibok girls symbolize the horror that is Boko Haram, but the damage its members have wrought goes far deeper."
In the meantime, Wilson has nothing to fear as she looks ahead to November. Last month, she crushed Ricardo de la Fuente in the Democratic primary, pulling 84 percent of the vote and beating her opponent by more than 50,000 votes. That win assured her a fifth term in Congress as she faces no opposition in the general election.