The tape was recorded about two weeks later by former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman during a meeting the president had with his communications team about the ambush and the movement of terrorists.
Manigault Newman played the tape Monday for MSNBC host Craig Melvin and said the way the president makes light of the situation shows just how “unhinged and inappropriate” he is.
On the tape, the president explains that the attacks were carried out by terrorists from the Middle East who went into Africa “to try and, you know, cause problems there.”
Trump then said that the goal of most of the terrorists is to get back to the U.S., “because this is where they really want to be.”
“So it’s a rough, uh, business,” he said, then to laughter he added, “I wouldn’t, I don’t think I’d want to be a terrorist right now. [laughter] It’s not a good life, but it’s, uh, the only thing that — What else is there?”
Manigault Newman told Melvin she felt Trump’s comments were disrespectful of the soldier’s deaths, especially when he and his staffers laughed at the remarks.
“They were laughing because he’s, like, making light of the situation, he’s saying, ‘Well, I wouldn’t want to be a terrorist,’ she said, “But it’s not a laughing matter. We lost four American soldiers and four of our allies, the Nigerien troops that we were fighting alongside.”
Manigault Newman said the president’s cavalier attitude toward the soldiers in Niger is even more insulting in retrospect, considering the way he spoke with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the soldiers killed in the attack.
“He couldn’t remember my husband’s name,” Myeshia Johnson told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name.”
The president also told Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”
Johnson added: “And it made me cry because I was very angry at the tone in his voice and how he said it.”
According to a report commissioned by The Guardian newspaper, about 200 heavily armed militants attacked U.S. and Nigerien forces on Oct. 4, 2017, in the village of Tongo Tongo. Witnesses described hearing gunfire for six hours without any reinforcements showing up, despite the village chief’s repeated calls for help to Nigerien authorities.
“Everything that happened could have been prevented if help had arrived sooner,” Karimou Yacouba, a local member of parliament, told The Guardian.
This tape isn’t the only one released Monday by Manigault Newman, formerly the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison and a former contestant on Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice.”
She also played a recording on “The View” in which Trump could be heard ranting that his presidential rival Hillary Clinton is “getting killed now with Russia” and that the “real Russia story is Hillary and collusion.”