The mother of a soldier killed in an ambush in Africa said Wednesday that President Trump “did disrespect my son” with remarks in a condolence telephone call.
Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post that she was present during the call from the White House on Tuesday to Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson. She also stood by an account of the call from Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) that Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”
“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Jones-Johnson said.
Trump lashed back at Wilson. He denied her account in a Twitter message Wednesday. He said he had “proof” that the exchange did not go as Wilson had described. Trump did not elaborate, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president had not taped the conversation. She said several White House staffers were in the room during the call, including Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.
Sanders described Trump’s call as “completely respectful.”
“The hardest job he has is making calls like that,” Sanders said. “I think it is appalling what the congresswoman has done” in “politicizing” Trump’s condolence calls.
President Trump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said.
Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, told The Washington Post that Trump called him at his home in Zebulon, N.C., a few weeks after his 22-year-old son and two fellow soldiers were gunned down by an Afghan police officer in a suspected insider attack June 10. 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.
“I said, ‘Me and my wife would rather our son died in trench warfare,’ “ Baldridge said. “I feel like he got murdered over there.”
Trump’s offer of $25,000 adds another dimension to the president’s relations with Gold Star families, an honorific given to those whose loved ones die while serving in support of the nation’s wars. The disclosure follows questions about how often the president has called or written to grieving military families.
I know I can’t wait for tomorrow’s edition in “The American Dumpster Fire.” Now, where’s the tequila?