President Donald Trump “mocked” the sacrifice of a Black soldier and other members of his military unit who died in October 2017 fighting jihadists in the African nation of Niger, according to the president’s former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.
Newman levelled that charge against Trump on Monday with her release on MSNBC of yet another secret audio recording of conversations in the White House while she served as a staff member, NBC News reported.
Islamist fighters ambushed U.S. Army Sgt. LaDavid Johnson, three other American soldiers and Nigerien troops. The president later feuded with Johnson’s widow and the African-American congresswoman who defended her over Trump’s alleged insensitive remarks about Johnson’s death.
Newman reportedly made the recording on Oct. 27, 2017, when Trump walked into a meeting of the White House communications team and began discussing the Niger situation with staff members (who lacked the security clearance to discuss the matter). Trump and his staffers are heard laughing on the recording.
“They were laughing because he’s like making light of the situation, he’s saying, ‘Well I wouldn’t want to be a terrorist.’ But it’s not a laughing matter, we lost four American soldiers and four of our allies, the Nigerien troops that we were fighting alongside,” Newman said.
On the recording, Trump boasted that under his watch, the U.S. military defeated jihadist fighters in the Middle East, which prompted the fighter to flee to Africa.
“I wouldn’t, I don’t think I’d want to be a terrorist right now. [laughter] It’s not a good life, but it’s uh, the only thing that — What else is there?” Trump said on the recording.
Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, accused Trump of saying that her husband “must’ve known what he signed up for,” during his condolense call. Trump denied saying that, but U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson said she overheard the telephone conversation and backed Myeshia Johnson.
“You have to question how seriously he takes the people who put their lives on the line for this country,” Newman said Monday, as she continued promoting her tell-all book about Trump that includes an allegation that the president used the N-word.