The Backstory: Johnson Versus Trump

United States forces were sent out along with Nigerian soldiers on an ultimately deadly joint patrol.

AJ Freithoffer, Managing Editor, Sports Editor

About 6,000 American soldiers have been deployed to Africa to support the military and a third of them are working in Special Forces on different activities in Niger. For example, they are working on advise and assist missions, like the patrol. So far, the death count since troops were sent overseas is already at nine casualties after only being there for a month, with four of those deaths being American troops and five being Nigerian troops. Niger and other West African countries have a long history of working with American forces. The terrorist groups operating on the western borders of Niger host some of the most serious problems in the continent. Some of these issues are overpopulation, as Niger has some of the highest birthrates in the world, and being ranked as one of the world’s poorest countries.  

One of the things bringing this conflict to a much larger audience was the attack on Oct. 4, but no group has claimed the responsibility for it. This attack occurred near the village of Tongo. The Nigerian and American forces are assuming it is the Islamic State of Iran and Syria (ISIS) branch and they suspect the village leader sent the troops in when nobody was watching and started the attack. However, details are limited and they are still working on trying to figure out who it was.

One of the four American soldiers that died during the attack was a man named La David Johnson. His wife, Myeshia Johnson, was devastated when she had heard that her husband died. On Oct. 16, she spoke with President Trump on a condolence call, and then a couple days after the call she went on ABC News to criticize Trump about the way he spoke to her. She seemed very upset about how President Trump didn’t seem to remember her husband’s name, and how he also said, “He knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyways.” When she was on ABC News talking about this, she said, “It made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said that.” A week later, Trump denied that he couldn’t remember David Johnson’s name, but John F. Kelly told reporters that he did say those words. Trump posted on Twitter, saying, “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!” But Johnson is still very upset about all that is going on with her husband and with Trump. Since this has happened it has turned into a widely publicized political feud. On Oct. 17, Sgt. La David Johnson’s body was was returned to Florida for his funeral.