After two weeks of silence and then national shaming, Trump finally reached out to the family of a fallen soldier. It turns out he shouldn't have.
It took Donald Trump nearly two weeks to even acknowledge the deaths of four U.S. troops killed in an ISIS ambush in Niger.
When he finally spoke about their deaths, it was not to say their names. Or to condemn ISIS. Or to express his condolences to their families.
Instead, he defended his lack of response by lying about President Barack Obama, insisting — quite wrongly — that Obama didn’t contact the families of troops killed in action. It was an ugly lie that quickly turned into official White House strategy to deflect from the uglier truth that Trump could not be bothered to pause any of his five golf games to even tweet a word about these deaths.
And then Trump made it even worse:
U.S. President Donald Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow Tuesday that “he knew what he signed up for …but when it happens it hurts anyway,” when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens.
Myeshia Johnson has two young children and is pregnant with her third. And after the commander in chief ignored her husband’s death for two weeks, she finally received a phone call Trump was shamed into making.
Trump has made his disdain for service men and women, and their families, abundantly clear, even as he has spent weeks wrapping himself in the flag to attack black athletes for protesting police brutality, claiming it is out of loyalty to our troops.
Trump and his team have made many excuses for his failure to honor these troops who gave their lives, including blaming the Pentagon’s paperwork. Trump also claimed that it is hard for him to make such phone calls.
Clearly, it is indeed difficult for him. Not because he is overwhelmed and humbled by such a sacrifice; in his deplorable attacks on a Gold Star family during the election, he dismissed their grief by saying he had also made great sacrifices by working “very hard.”
But fulfilling his solemn responsibility as commander in chief, to make a phone call to a grieving widow to express condolences and gratitude on behalf of the United States, proved too challenging for Trump. Even at that, he failed.