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Trump Promised $25,000 to Grieving Gold Star Father, Never Followed Through

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U.S. President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump offered to give a grieving Gold Star father $25,000 and establish online fundraiser for the military family but failed to follow through on any of the promises.

Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, told The Washington Post Wednesday that during a personal phone call a few weeks after his son and other U.S. solders lost their lives in Afghanistan, the president made those promises.

He said the conversation lasted about 15 minutes during which time he spoke to the president about the manner in which his son was killed.

“I said, ‘Me and my wife would rather our son died in trench warfare,’ ” Baldridge said. “I feel like he got murdered over there.”

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Baldridge said he is nearly broke and “can barely rub two nickels together,” because his wife would receive the $100,000 from the Pentagon since she is the son’s designated beneficiary. The Pentagon pays out death gratuity to families of fallen soldiers.

According to The Washington Post, “[Trump] said, ‘I’m going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000. 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.’”

But he told the Post that weeks after the promise was made, he is yet to receive a check from the president. He said he received a condolence letter from Trump administration and he “opened it up and read it … hoping to see a check in there.”

“I know it was kind of far-fetched thinking. But I was like, ‘Damn, no check.’ Just a letter saying ‘I’m sorry,’” he told the Post.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters confirmed Wednesday afternoon that “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.” It is not clear when the check was sent or if it was sent due to media inquiries.

This story adds another dimension to Trump’s relationship with Gold Star families. Just this week, Trump stirred up controversy when he lied that former President Barack Obama did not call families of fallen solders while president.

Wednesday morning news broke that Trump was “insensitive” to the family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson who died in Niger earlier this month. Trump was said to have told Sgt. Johnson’s wife: ”‘But you know he must have known what he signed up for.’”

“I know it was kind of far-fetched thinking. But I was like, ‘Damn, no check.’ Just a letter saying ‘I’m sorry,’” he told the Post.

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) who witnessed the call told the media she was annoyed by the president’s lack of respect and sensitivity towards the family’s pain and suffering. The congresswoman said she heard the conversation through a speaker phone.

“How could you say that to a grieving widow?” Wilson said. “And he said it more than once. I said this man has no feelings for anyone. This is a young woman with child who is grieved to her soul.”

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Trump later denied making the comments and indicated that he had proof that the comments were fabricated by the congresswoman, although he failed to provide such “proof.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders later confirmed that Trump has no recording of the conversation. “No, but there were several people in the room from the administration that were on the call, including the chief of staff, John Kelly,” Sanders said in response to questions about the call from the media.



Associate Editor, The Liberal Advocate News




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