President Donald Trump took another opportunity Wednesday to once again dispute Myeshia Johnson's claim that he did not remember the name of her husband during a condolence call.
The Washington Post reports: "Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for a fundraiser in Dallas, Trump said he called Army Sgt. La David Johnson — who was killed after an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger that is still being investigated — by his correct name 'right from the beginning.'"
"One of the great memories of all time," the president said, pointing at his head with his left hand. "There's no hesitation."
Trump also said he had not specifically authorized the mission in Niger, which left four U.S. soldiers including Johnson dead and has prompted a slew of unanswered questions about how the mission went awry.
"No I didn't, not specifically, but I have generals that are great generals — these are great fighters, these are warriors," he said. "I gave them authority to do what's right so that we win. That's the authority they have. I want to win, and we're going to win."
As for Sgt. Johnson's name, Trump told the reporters he had stated it correctly during his initial call — in part because he was provided with a chart that had the fallen soldier's name written out.
"I certainly respect La David, who I, by the way, called La David right from the beginning," he said. "Just so you understand, they put a chart in front – 'La David,' it says 'La David Johnson.' So I called right from the beginning."
Trump struck a more deferential tone in his latest comments than he had in some earlier statements, largely praising Myeshia Johnson and calling her “a lovely lady” while also defending himself.
"I was extremely nice to her," Trump said. "She sounds like a lovely lady. I've never seen her, I've never met her, but she sounds like a lovely lady. But I was extremely nice to her, I was extremely courteous, as I was to everyone else."
The president added that he respects both her and her family, including her late husband. "I think she's a fantastic woman," he said. "I was extremely nice to her, extremely respectful."