Susan Wright mentioned earlier that U.S. President Donald J. Trump made some phone calls today to the families of military personnel killed in Niger on October 4. Trump made the calls after facing questioning about what was taking so long. Here’s how one of those calls went:
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.
“Yes, he said it,” Wilson said. “It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it.”
In related news, Trump today invoked the death of the son of his Chief of Staff John Kelly today to make a cheap political point:
“As far as other presidents, I don’t know, you could ask Gen. Kelly, did he get a call from Obama? I don’t know what Obama’s policy was,” Trump said.
The Washington Post tonight reports on just how much Kelly doesn’t like his son’s death being used for political purposes:
For the past seven years, Gen. John F. Kelly has gone out of his way to keep the death of his son free from politics.
He did not talk about him when — just four days after his death in southern Afghanistan — Kelly found himself commemorating two other Marines killed in combat, in a moving speech in St. Louis. In fact, he specifically asked the officer introducing him not to mention his boy, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, who was killed instantly when he stepped on a land mine while on patrol in 2010, according to a Washington Post report.
. . . .
Kelly has been private about his son’s death, even though both his and his sons’ military service clearly inform his thinking on White House foreign policy and national security decisions, which to him are not merely intellectual exercises, several White House officials said.
Kelly has previously resisted White House efforts to link children’s deaths with politics and policy.
Is Kelly upset? You be the judge:
Since joining Trump’s West Wing team, Kelly is almost always at the president’s side for public appearances. But he was notably absent Tuesday from a Rose Garden news conference with Trump and the Greek prime minister.
The White House offered no explanation of why Kelly was not in attendance.
I’d like to think he told the President that if he ever uses the memory of his son to make a cheap political point again, he’ll be looking for a new Chief of Staff.
Then again, maybe Donald Trump replied by telling Kelly: “You knew what you signed up for.”
UPDATE: Trump tweets that the Democrat Congresswoman lied and that he has proof:
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
Trump also implied he had a tape that would prove James Comey lied about what was said in a private meeting. I have yet to hear that tape. So: we’ll see about this proof.