Meanwhile, a second judge ordered a freeze on President Trump's newest travel ban order, saying it was essentially targeted at Muslims in violation of the US Constitution.
US President Donald Trump was snarled in fresh controversy Wednesday after he was accused of being disrespectful to a US soldier slain in an ambush in Niger, as well as showing insensitivity to the grieving family.
Trump moved quickly to dispute descriptions of his conversation with the pregnant widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, 25, who was one of four US service members killed in a militant ambush October 4.
But two accounts of his condolence call suggest the president struggled to convey an empathetic tone.
"President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband," Sergeant La David Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told the Washington Post.
She said she agreed with an earlier account of the call, given by a lawmaker who said she heard part of the conversation and accused Trump of insensitivity for telling Johnson's pregnant widow Myeshia Johnson that the young soldier "knew what he was signing up for."
"I didn't hear the whole phone call, but I did hear him say, 'I'm sure he knew what he was signing up for, but it still hurts,'" Frederica Wilson, a Democratic congresswoman from Florida, told CNN.
Trump denied making the comments, tweeting Wednesday: "Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!"
Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
He later told reporters: "I did not say what she said," and that "I had a very nice conversation."
When asked about what proof he could offer, Trump said, "Let her make her statement again then you will find out."
Johnson was among four US soldiers killed October 4 in Niger, where Daesh has established a presence.
The military has released few details about what happened, and on Tuesday Senator John McCain, who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Trump administration was not being forthcoming with information.
The Miami native's body was returned home Tuesday afternoon.
His wife Myeshia, who is expecting the couple's third child, sobbed loudly while cradling his coffin after it was taken off a military plane.
After Trump's call, Myeshia "was crying, she broke down. And she said 'he didn't even know his name,'" Wilson said, referring to Trump and the dead soldier.
Second US judge orders freeze on Trump travel ban
A second judge ordered a freeze on President Donald Trump's newest travel ban order on Wednesday, saying it was essentially targeted at Muslims in violation of the US Constitution.
Maryland federal judge Theodore Chuang said the ban affecting travelers from six majority-Muslim countries and North Korea, as well as many officials from Venezuela, essentially had not changed from the first two versions, which were shot down in lower courts as discriminating against a single religion.
He pointed out, as in earlier rulings, that Trump had repeatedly promised a ban on Muslims coming into the country during last year's presidential election.
Chuang was the second judge this week to order a block on the open-ended ban, issued in a White House executive order in September and which was to come in effect on Wednesday.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the White House Wednesday, chanting "no Muslim ban," and "no ban, no wall, freedom for all" - referencing Trump's plans to build a wall on the Mexican border.
A march to the Trump International Hotel, a few blocks away, was also planned.