US President Donald Trump is responsible for the recent US military casualties in the African country of Niger, says Representative Frederica Wilson, calling it the commander-in-chief’s “Benghazi.”
The Democratic congresswoman likened the death of four US troops in an ambush in Niger earlier this month to the deadly 2012 attack on the US consulate in Libya’s Benghazi and told Trump to “own it.”
“Niger is @realDonaldTrump’s Benghazi. He needs to own it,” the Florida Democrat tweeted Sunday, continuing a row with the president over his treatment of families of the fallen soldiers.
The lawmaker has blasted Trump for giving a heartless condolence call to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the servicemen killed in the October 4 attack.
Wilson says she was in the car with the widow when Trump called her and insensitively told her that her husband “knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurts.”
Trump has denied the allegation, accusing the “wacky congresswoman” of telling lies.
Trump’s reaction to Benghazi
The Benghazi attack, which killed four US diplomats, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, has been largely blamed on inaction on part of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was also Trump’s Democratic rival in last year’s presidential race.
- Clinton slammed for inaction over Benghazi attack
This and Clinton’s use of a private email server to exchange thousands of potentially confidential messages prompted congressional and federal investigations that, according to analysts, ultimately cost her the presidency, although none of them led to indictments.
Trump used the issues as a powerful attacking point during the campaign, calling Clinton a “world class liar” spreading “death, destruction and terrorism.”
Responding to Niger attack after 12 days
On the Niger attack, however, it took Trump around 12 days to break his silence. Even then, he tried to reverse the situation by taking shots at his predecessor, Barack Obama, claiming he did not call Gold Star families.
“So the traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them, didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it,” he said.
The Niger attack has helped the Senate Foreign Relations Committee muster support for passing a new authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, to expand operations against “terror groups” in Africa.