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"He Knew What He Signed Up For"

Added • Updated about a year ago

Added by Matt • Updated about a year ago by Y F
Added by Matt • Updated about a year ago by Y F

"He Knew What He Signed Up For"
Category: Event Status: Submission Year: 2017 Origin: United States of America Region:
Type: Controversy,
Tags: donald trump, military, family, veteran, politics, florida, niger,
"He Knew What He Signed Up For"


"He Knew What He Signed Up For is an alleged quote from United States President Donald Trump to the mother of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed in combat in October 2017. The statement started a public controversy after a Florida Democratic Representative Frederica Wilson, who first claimed that Trump said those words, and the president, who denied the allegations.


On October 18th, 2017, Florida Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson said that while in the car with Myeshia Johnson, the wife Sgt. La David T. Johnson who was killed in an ambush in Niger, on the way to Miami International Airport to meet her husband's remains, President Trump called Johnson and told her that her husband "knew what he signed up for." Rep. Wilson said that the call was on speakerphone, which was how she could hear the conversation.[1]

As they arrived at the airport, Rep. Wilson told reporters the story, calling the president's call "insensitive and insane.[8][9] (video below).


That night, Rep. Wilson tweeted[10] at the President, "Sgt. La David Johnson is a hero. @realDonaldTrump does not possess the character, empathy or grace to be president of the United States." The tweet (shown below) received more tahn 6,800 retweets and 18,000 likes in less than 24 hours.

Tweet by Rep Wilson against Donald Trump's statements to the departed soldier's family

The following day, Rep. Wilson appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where she recounted the call.

Following reports of Rep. Wilson publicly claiming that Trump had made such comments, the next day, President Trump tweeted,[4] "Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!" The post (shown below) received more than 18,000 retweets and 70,000 likes in less than 24 hours.

donald trump responds on twitter to the democratic congresswoman, claiming she fabricated the story and he has proof

As the day continued, Rep. Wilson made appearances on various news channels (video below, left), recounting her story and calling the president "a sick man."[5] Additionally, she told reporters that Mrs. Johnson said that President Trump did not know her husband's name.

President Trump told reporters[6] at a meeting with the members of the Senate Finance Committee that "I had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife, who sounded like a wonderful woman. I didn’t say what that congresswoman said. Didn’t say it at all, she knows it."

President Trump has yet to say what proof he has, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the phone call was not recorded. She continued that several White House staffers were in the room for the call.[11]

The New York Times[7] reported that Sgt. Johnson's mother, who was also in the car, corroborated Wilson's story. “Yes, he did state that comment,” said Cowand Jones-Johnson.

Additionally, the Washington Post[11] reported a quote from Jones-Johnsohnson: "President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband."

Online Reaction

That day, the alleged statements reached the front-page of Reddit several times. Redditor[2] ___Magnitude__ posted a photograph of the wife and daughter of Sgt. Johnson at the holding casket of her late-husband in the /r/pics subreddit. The photo (shown below) garnered more than 30,000 points (75% upvoted) and 4,800 comments in five hours.

Photo of SGT Johnson's wife and daughter holding his casket draped in the American flag

Later that day, Redditor[3] Elder_Joker posted a gif from the film The Big Lebowski in the /r/reactiongifs subreddit. The gif features the character The Dude saying, "You're not wrong. You're just an asshole." The gif (shown below) received more than 14,400 points (85% upvoted) and 1,300 comments in less than four hours.

On Twitter, many used "he knew what he signed up for" as a catchphrase to criticize the president. Some considered the statements to be insensitive, while others saw it as something in character for the president (examples below). That day, Twitter published a Moments page about the reaction and response to Trump's alleged comments.

Tweet by angry user directed at Trump exclaiming that he is so racist that he finds it more disrespectful for a black man to kneel for the flag, than to say he know what he signed up for to a soldier's widow Tweet saying that Trump seems really upset by the online reaction to his comments, but he knows what he signed up for, poking the statement back at the president Tweet saying that anyone that voted for Trump knows what they signed up for

Search Interest

External References

Tags: donald trump, military, family, veteran, politics, florida, niger,

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