Using the death of an American serviceman for political gain and notoriety is inexcusable.
President Donald Trump will never be mentioned among the nation’s great orators. In fact, he quite often puts his foot in his mouth whenever he goes off script, whether at a rally of his supporters, or in reaction to questions from the press.
Maybe he didn’t make himself clear when reaching out to the widow the fallen American soldier, Sgt. La David Johnson, who along with three of his comrades was killed in Niger earlier this month. Only those who actually heard the entire conversation know exactly what was said.
We do know what Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) said she heard the President say to the grieving widow, as she listened in on the call on a speakerphone. She says, in her opinion what Trump said was inappropriate and publicly has criticized Trump’s words.
Of course, Trump has vehemently denied saying anything out of line, but again, sometimes what Trump says can be just a little perplexing. Add to that the filter through which Rep. Wilson was listening, given that she has been a harsh critic of the President since his election, and one can see there may have been some confusion.
Unless someone releases a recording or transcript of the call, we may never know for sure. But that is not the real issue here.
Rep. Wilson, who is apparently a close friend of the family, should have thought about her course of action in response to Trump’s remarks a little longer before reacting. As a close friend, she may have considered comforting the grieving widow and her family, and making sure to keep them out of sight of the prying media looking to capitalize on a tragedy.
As a sitting Congresswoman, she had access to the President, either directly or through party leaders, and she could have expressed her concerns privately about what was said and how it was received, and given the President an opportunity to explain his sentiments and understand what was deemed offensive. But in true politician mode, that action would not make headlines, and get her on national television.
Instead, she donned her brightest cowboy hat and went to CNN, a news source that she was sure would jump at the chance to portray Trump in an unflattering light, and apparently attempted to shift the focus to her politics. I can’t speak her mind, but I can see no other explanation for her actions.
Of course, CNN and the rest of the media, on the left and the right, condemned or supported the President, depending on their slant, and kept the story at the top of the news cycle.
Trump himself could have diffused the matter if he had responded to questions about Rep. Wilson’s comments with an apology and a promise to reach out to Sgt. Johnson’s widow to clarify the situation. Instead, as usual, he chose to attack his attacker, which gave the story even more leg.
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Meanwhile, the deaths of Sgt. Johnson and his comrades, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, who are heroes that gave their lives in service to our nation, have become a side story to a clownish woman in a gaudy hat with a vendetta against a sitting president, and a president who can’t seem to get out of his own way.
If it weren’t for White House chief of staff John Kelly’s emotional and inspiring moments at a briefing Thursday afternoon, one could be justified in thinking there was no hope for civility and political discourse in the US today.
The families of American servicemen and women who lose their lives in service deserve the respect and sympathy of a thankful nation. They should never have to suffer through their time of grief, while watching a political powerplay unfold over their loss.
If that is what a close family friend does, I hope I don’t have one.