A survivor of the Niger ambush has gone on record with an account of Army Sgt. La David Johnson's heroism as new details of the deadly mission emerge. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has been silent.
A survivor of the doomed Niger mission where four American soldiers were murdered wants the world to know about the heroic actions of Army Sgt. La David Johnson.
"The guy is a true war hero," the survivor told ABC News. "I really want his wife and kids to know that."
The details of the slain sergeant's actions come as newly released information shows that the mission he was on morphed from routine to dangerous while his team was in the field. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has gone into lockdown mode, refusing to answer questions about the ambush.
"Without a doubt, his courage and bravery in action that day were above and beyond expectation," the survivor said. "He died fighting for his brothers on his team. You can quote that verbatim."
The survivor detailed Johnson's heroism, explaining that when militants attacked his patrol in Niger, Johnson fought them off with machine gun fire from the back of a pick-up truck, then grabbed a sniper rifle and used that to fend off the attack.
The mission, according to an official who spoke to ABC, changed from a reconnaissance operation to meet with local leaders into orders to "kill-or-capture" a high-value terrorism target.
Despite the target being one of America's "top three objectives in Niger," according to intelligence sources, Johnson's team — along with others in the field — did not have the support they needed in case something went wrong. The military had raised this issue before this mission was executed, but on Trump's orders or authorization, the operation was greenlit anyway.
The official told ABC, "They should have been up and back in a day. Because they were up there so f------ long on a mission that morphed, they were spotted, surveilled and ultimately hit."
The remarks about the heroism of the soldiers who died in Niger stand in contrast to Trump's treatment of Johnson's widow, Myeshia Johnson, and her family and friends. She said Trump's statement that the sergeant "knew what he signed up for" was insulting to her family and "made me cry."
Trump responded to her comments by attacking her on Twitter.
At the same time, his underlings like Mike Pence continue to make empty rhetorical claims that Trump is giving troops in the field the support they need to fight. Niger shows that this isn't true.
Fallen soldiers and their families deserve better.
Johnson's selfless act of heroism, during which he lost his life, highlights the depravity of covering up what happened.
That Trump chose to attack and smear instead of do what was decent dishonors the memory of the men who lost their lives while carrying out his orders.