Johnson's aunt, who raised the soldier from a young age, said the family took that remark to be disrespectful. Indeed, the building was approved several years before she entered Congress.
Trump was accused of disrespecting Sgt. "Kelly just explained that he did say it, he brought in the context, he brought in the explanation, how President Trump meant it, although as you point out, the family didn't take it that way, but now we know that he did in fact say it, even though President Trump claimed that he did not".
"Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof)".
"As General Kelly pointed out, if you're able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes all about yourself, you're an empty barrel", Sanders added. And it was dedicated to two men who were killed in a firefight in Miami against drug traffickers in 1986 - a guy by the name of Grogan and Duke. She recounted how she was asked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation four weeks earlier to expedite a bill through Congress to name the building after Grogan and Dove.
Last July, Trump took to Twitter to criticize Gen. John Allen, writing, "General John Allen, who I never met but spoke against me last night, failed badly in his fight against ISIS". She said she then rushed the bill to Florida Sens. His words came out wrong, or they weren't received as he intended. Anyways, they got in a gunfight and they were killed.
Trump phoned Johnson's grieving widow, and the call was overheard by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, of Florida.
KELLY: "It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation".
"Let me tell you what my mother told me when I was little", Wilson said.
"The Fake News is going insane with wacky Congresswoman Wilson (D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!" "There are other people who heard what I heard".
"If you want to go after Gen. Kelly, that's up to you, but I think if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that's something highly inappropriate", Sanders said in a White House press briefing.
He then said a military friend had told him how he handled the calls.
Other family members anticipated calls from Trump that were never made.
Natasha De Alencar, widow of Army Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, released video of her conversation with Trump, which she found comforting. White House aides did not respond when CNN asked if they could make those examples public. Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman in Washington and David Fischer in Miami contributed reporting.