Rep. Frederica Wilson founded “5000 Role Models,” a dropout prevention and mentoring program. This photo was taken during a press conference about the missing Chibok girls in 2015. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Thank goodness for Rep. Frederica Wilson.

The Florida Democrat was brave when she exposed the ham-fisted tactics of the 45th president of the United States (POTUS), when he telephoned the widow and parents of Army Green Beret La David Johnson, who was killed in action this month with three other soldiers in a (until now) little-known U.S. military mission in Niger, West Africa.

Thanks to the Florida Sun-Sentinel for releasing a two-year-old video of a Post Office dedication, which proved, once again, that lies and intimidation are the calling cards for the current occupants of the White House.

Wilson was in a limousine, accompanying Sgt. Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, and his parents to retrieve his remains, when The Donald telephoned to offer condolences on behalf of a nation grieving for her loss. But Trump said maybe the last thing the family needed to hear at that time. He said that her husband “knew what he was signing up for.” In other words: “he had it coming to him.”

Ironically, Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly — whose own son was killed in Afghanistan — at first confirmed that account when he told reporters that he’d advised POTUS 45 to tell Gold Star families that their lost loved ones knew what they had signed up for. But then Kelly flipped, falsely attacking Wilson for bragging about securing funding for an FBI building at a dedication ceremony in 2015. Video published by the Sun Sentinel of that 2015 event however, shows that Wilson did no such thing.

“Despite President Trump’s suggestion that I have recanted my statement or misstated what he said, I stand firmly by my original account of his conversation with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson,” Wilson said in a statement posted on her official website.

His Nibs responded in his typically crude manner.

“I hope the Fake News Media keeps talking about Wacky Congresswoman Wilson in that she, as a representative, is killing the Democrat Party!” POTUS tweeted Oct. 21, referring to Wilson.

Kelly and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had already set the table. Sanders defended Kelly’s repudiated statement, warning a reporter against getting into a “debate with a four-star Marine general.” Excuse me?! Is the tough-as-nails, big, bad Marine going to physically impose his lockstep views into the discussion?

Sorry, Sarah. The general lied. Your boss feeds with the swine.

The real mystery is: Who knew the United States had a battalion of special forces troops in West Africa?

“I didn’t know there was 1,000 troops in Niger,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Oct. 22. “This is an endless war without boundaries and no limitation on time and geography.

“I’m all for going after terrorists,” Graham said. “But I want to know before I read about it in the paper where our people are and what they’re doing.”

Dr. Gerald Horne, Moores professor of history and African studies at the University of Houston, said there’s a reason for the secrecy.

“Well, sure they’re hiding something,” Horne told this writer in an interview. “They’re obscuring the reality that there has been a significant U.S. military intervention in north central Africa, which compliments the U.S. military base in Djibouti to the east.

“What Congresswoman Wilson said was consistent with the historic attitude of disrespect exhibited by the 45th U.S. president toward the Black community in general,” Horne said. “And so, there’s no reason to disbelieve that Congresswoman Wilson, who we know to be a rational actor, would seek to put false words in the mouth of Donald J. Trump, not least because his mouth is already stock full of false words, and could hardly have space for more.”

For her part, Wilson said it is “personal for me, not political.”

“Sgt. Johnson was a member of my community and of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project that I founded to help boys of color build successful futures,” she said. “He was killed while on a mission to provide training and security assistance to West African armed forces battling vicious insurgents like Boko Haram, the group whose defeat I’ve been fighting for since it abducted nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls more than three years ago.

“The loved ones Sgt. Johnson leaves behind are my constituents,” she continued. “And my job now is to do all that I can to help them heal. I’ll save the bully pulpit for the necessary task of uncovering the circumstances surrounding the ambush and working to help ensure that our soldiers have all of the resources and support that they need while putting their lives on the line to keep others safe.”

Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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