'How much can a Gold Star family take?' Congresswoman pleads for end to Niger cover-up


The discovery of more remains from the ambush and murder of Sgt. La David Johnson in Niger has prompted Rep. Frederica Wilson to demand answers from Donald Trump.

More than a month after four American soldiers were ambushed and killed in Niger, the U.S. military recovered "additional human remains" that it has now identified as belonging to Army Sgt. La David Johnson.

The gruesome discovery is the latest in an ongoing cascade of revelations about the fateful attack.

Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson, a friend of Johnson's family and the leading congressional voice demanding answers on the murder, highlighted the lingering questions that the discovery has unleashed.

Speaking to the media, Wilson described the discovery of remains as "unconscionable" and "painful to this family." She also took note of the botched process thus far, in which the Johnson family was unable to see the sergeant in his casket, which raised a number of questions about how he died. The family was informed of these new developments on Monday.

"How much can a Gold Star family take?" Wilson asked.

WILSON: It is unconscionable, it is painful to this family. How much can a Gold Star family take when you say to them, you cannot have an open casket funeral, but we don't know what happened to your husband. We don't know what happened to your son, we don't know what happened to your brother, we don't know what happened to your friend. It's unconscionable.

At first, the Trump administration ignored the ambush entirely. Then, when he finally was shamed into contacting the family, he was callously rude to Johnson's widow, Myeshia Johnson.

When Trump was called out for that behavior by Wilson, he attacked the congresswoman and sent his chief of staff John Kelly out to lie about it and smear her.

Americans are still in the dark about why the mission was ordered by the Trump administration, and why the troops were sent into an ambush even though military officials knew that it would be difficult to send in backup.

Trump has tried to deflect blame for the deaths, insisting that the generals who had command in the field take the full responsibility.

But Trump is — supposedly — the commander in chief. Failed military decisions reflect on his leadership, or lack thereof, no matter how much he would like it to be otherwise.

After Trump assumed his office, he changed how the military works in the field, loosening the reins of supervision put in place by his predecessor, President Barack Obama, and ceding the civilian oversight that has been the recent American tradition.

In the same breath that Trump touts successes against ISIS, his decisions have contributed to the Niger ambush, along with the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens in a botched raid in Yemen.

Both fatal incidents have been an example, along with a string of policy decisions, that have quickly positioned Trump on the opposite side of the military.

And it is the crucial voices like Rep. Wilson's that are not allowing that dynamic to go unquestioned.