Trump Now Treating Parents Of Dead Soldiers Like Any Other Trump Subcontractor
In the midst of all the weirdness surrounding Donald Trump's dismissive phone call to the widow of a Green Beret killed in Niger and his phony claim that no other president has called the families of the fallen like he has (which, actually, is appearing more and more accidentally true), the Washington Post broke a doozy of a story late Wednesday: Trump not only called the father of a soldier killed in Afghanistan, but also promised to send the father $25,000. Which he then promptly didn't send at all.
After Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge and two other soldiers were shot in June by an Afghan policeman they were training, Baldridge's father, Chris, received a personal condolence call from Trump:
Their phone conversation lasted about 15 minutes, Baldridge said, and centered for a time on the father’s struggle with the manner in which his son was killed — shot by someone he was training.
“I said, ‘Me and my wife would rather our son died in trench warfare,’ ” Baldridge said. “I feel like he got murdered over there.”
Baldridge expressed some frustration that his son had designated Baldridge's ex-wife as the beneficiary for his military death benefits, about $100,000, and told Trump "I can barely rub two nickels together." Say what you will about the propriety of sounding jealous of his ex getting his son's death money; people say lots of stuff when they're grieving. But then Trump jumped in with his offer to help, because if there's one thing Donald Trump knows, it's that money -- or at least a promise of it -- makes everything better:
"He said, 'I'm going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,' and I was just floored," Baldridge said. "I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He said, 'No other president has ever done something like this,' but he said, 'I’m going to do it.'"
It's that bragging about what a terrific guy he is that proves it was really Donald Trump on the line. Unfortunately, when Baldridge later received a letter from the White House, it was a plain vanilla condolence letter:
“I opened it up and read it, and I was hoping to see a check in there, to be honest,” the father said. “I know it was kind of far-fetched thinking. But I was like, ‘Damn, no check.’ Just a letter saying ‘I’m sorry.’ ”
After refusing to comment on the matter when asked about it Wednesday morning, the White House finally found a way to spin Trump's blowing off his promise as the Washington Post's fault, of course. Spokesperson Lindsay Walters said Wednesday afternoon,
The check has been sent. It’s disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the President, and using it to advance the media’s biased agenda.
We are certain you will be as shocked as we were to learn CNN confirmed with a "White House official" Wednesday evening that the check had, in reality, only been sent Wednesday, when the Post published its story.
Also, in a very important bit of But Obamaism, WaPo updated its story to point out that Barack Obama took 18 months to make a donation in an undisclosed amount to a charity set up in the name of humanitarian aid worker Kayla Mueller, who died in 2015 while a captive of ISIS in Syria. Obama had promised Mueller's family he'd donate to the charity but the donation was only made after an ABC News story "called attention to what the president later described as an oversight." We'll be sure to be equally outraged the moment we learn Obama told Mueller's parents she knew what she'd volunteered for, but he guessed it hurt anyway.
The Post notes that despite Trump's assertion Monday that he's “called every family of somebody that’s died, and it’s the hardest call to make,” he seems to have missed a few. Of some 20 Americans killed in action since Trump took office, the paper contacted thirteen families. Seven had received calls and generally said it meant a lot to them (one of the parents told Trump he'd voted for him, and that prompted Trump to talk for another 10 minutes about all he'd accomplished in office, which was a nice tribute to the family's fallen son).
Of the families who hadn't heard from Trump, one wasn't bothered, while four said the omission upset them. And then there was Euvince Brooks, the father of Sgt. Roshain E. Brooks, who was killed in Iraq on August 13. Mr. Brooks said Trump hadn't called, and his claim that he'd personally called every family of a soldier killed on his watch just caused more pain for the family:
Brooks said that after watching the news on Tuesday night he wanted to set up a Twitter account to try to get the president’s attention.
“I said to my daughter, ‘Can you teach me to tweet, so I can tweet at the president and tell him he’s a liar?’” he said. “You know when you hear people lying, and you want to fight? That’s the way I feel last night. He’s a damn liar.”
Yr Wonkette is offering even odds that the "president," if asked about Brooks's comments, will insist that he'd tried calling that man, but obviously if that man, the father, was too simple to use Twitter, it's no surprise he never picked up the phone.
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