White House says Trump did not record call to soldier's widow

The White House does not have a recording of President Trump's call to the widow of a slain U.S. soldier, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.

Sanders cited the presence of chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE when asked for proof that Trump did not tell the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson that "he knew what he signed up for."

“No," she said when asked if there is a recording. "But there were several people in the room from the administration on the call," including Kelly, she said. 

Sanders later added that Kelly, whose son was killed in acton in 2010, supported the president's comments.

"Gen. Kelly was present for the call and thought it was completely appropriate. He thought the call was respectful and he thought that the president did the best job he could under those circumstances to offer condolences on the part of the country," she said. 

A firestorm erupted Wednesday morning after Rep. Fredrica Wilson (D-Fla.), who says she was with Johnson's family when Trump called, accused the president of being insensitive in his comments to the fallen soldier's family.

Wilson said she overheard Trump tell Myeshia Johnson that her husband "knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens it hurts anyway."

Trump has vehemently denied Wilson's characterization of the call.

Cowanda Jones-Johnson, the soldier's mother, told The Washington Post that "President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband," before adding that Wilson's characterization was accurate. 

Sanders called the controversy a "disgrace of the media" and called Wilson's accusations "appalling." 

"The hardest job he has is making calls like that. I think it is appalling what the congresswoman has done in the way she's politicized this issue and the way she is trying to make this about something that it isn't," she added. 

"To try to create something from that that the congresswoman is doing is frankly appalling and disgusting," Sanders said.

Ben Kamisar contributed.