US President Donald Trump has said a lawmaker’s claim he made a soldier’s widow cry is “totally fabricated”.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson said she was shocked by the president’s comments to the bereaved wife of a fallen soldier.
The Democratic lawmaker claimed he told the widow: “He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”
Sgt La David Johnson was among four US special service troops killed in Niger by Islamist militants this month.
Mr Trump has already been criticised for not contacting the families of the dead servicemen right after the fatal ambush on 4 October.
The president tweeted on Wednesday morning: “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”
Mr Trump did not provide the evidence.
Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
Sgt. La David Johnson is a hero. @realDonaldTrump does not possess the character, empathy or grace to be president of the United States.
— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 18, 2017
Ms Wilson, who represents a Florida district, told CNN that the president’s call was made shortly before Sgt Johnson’s coffin arrived in Miami.
“This gentleman has a brain disorder,” said the lawmaker, “and he needs to be checked out.”
Ms Wilson told WPLG, a Miami TV station, she heard the president’s “so insensitive” remarks to the widow on speakerphone in a limousine.
“Yeah, he [President Trump] said that,” Ms Wilson said. “To me, that is something that you can say in a conversation, but you shouldn’t say that to a grieving widow.
“And everyone knows when you go to war, you could possibly not come back alive. But you don’t remind a grieving widow of that.”
Ms Wilson told the Washington Post that the widow, Myeshia Johnson, who is expecting the couple’s third child, broke down in tears after the conversation.
“He made her cry,” Ms Wilson said.
The congresswoman told the newspaper that she wanted to grab the phone and “curse him out”.