Trump couldn’t stop talking about his military outreach skills this Monday, but the mother of a fallen soldier just decimated his bragging rights.
On October 4, an ISIS-affiliated ambush in Nigeria left 4 U.S. servicemen dead and 2 wounded. It’s the deadliest combat incident since the president took office.
Trump didn’t mention the attack for 12 days.
The day of the ambush, Trump posted 4 tweets about fake news. The following day, as the deceased soldiers’ remains were flown to Delaware, he posted 2 more.
When Trump wasn’t tweeting, he was golfing. Between the date of the ambush and his statement regarding the attack this Monday, Trump golfed 5 times.
“There is no issue too small for him to comment on,” said Republican campaign strategist and public relations worker Steve Schmidt, according to The Washington Post. “He tweets at all hours of the morning and night on every conceivable subject. He has time to insult, to degrade, to demean — always. But once again, you see this moral obtusity in the performance of his duties as commander in chief.”
But when it’s not about fake news, the NFL, or self-serving alternative facts, Trump remains silent.
In fact, Trump only mentioned the botched Niger operation after a reporter questioned him about it. His response wasn’t one of empathy, remorse, or compassion.
Instead, it was egocentric praise.
“The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls. A lot of them didn’t make calls,” said Trump, asserting that he’d already contacted the soldiers’ families. “Other presidents did not call. They’d write letters. And some presidents didn’t do anything.”
Then again, compassion isn’t characteristic of Trump.
“Part of being a president is at moments being pastor in chief, dispensing grace and understanding and giving voice to sorrow, tragedy and loss,” said George W. Bush’s former deputy director of speechwriting Peter Wehner, according to The Post. “[President Trump is] missing an empathy gene.”
Admittedly, there was a hint of truth to President Trump’s claims: he really did contact the families. His approach, however, was far from consoling.
What’s Happening Now:
Cowanda Jones-Johnson, the mother of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, spoke with The Post in an exclusive interview. Jones-Johnson’s son was among the four servicemen killed in action during the Nigerian ambush.
“[He] did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Jones-Johnson said of Trump.
Her revelation came after comments from Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), who was riding in a limousine with Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, as she received the president’s call.
“She was crying the whole time,” said Wilson. “When she hung up the phone, she looked at me and said, ‘He didn’t even remember his name.’”
Reports suggest Johnson placed Trump on speakerphone for the duration of the call. Wilson said she attempted to speak with Trump, but the Army sergeant holding the phone would not allow it.
“[Trump] said ‘Well, I guess you knew,’ — something to the effect of that ‘he knew what he was getting into when he signed up, but I guess it hurts anyway,’” Wilson said. “It was horrible. It was insensitive. It was absolutely crazy — unnecessary. I was livid.”
Trump denied the claims Wednesday, insisting Wilson was fabricating the story.
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
“[I] didn’t say what that congresswoman said,” Trump said. “Didn’t say it at all. She knows it … I had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife, who sounded like a lovely woman. Did not say what the congresswoman said, and most people aren’t too surprised to hear that.”
Unsurprisingly, the president failed to produce any proof that Wilson’s allegations were false. Wilson, however, defends her claims.
I still stand by my account of the call b/t @realDonaldTrump and Myeshia Johnson. That is her name, Mr. Trump. Not “the woman” or “the wife”
— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) October 18, 2017
Jones-Johnson said during her interview with The Post that Wilson’s account of events was accurate. Trump better hope the call wasn’t recorded.
Watch his denial: