Making Sense of the Gold Star Family Flap

The kerfuffle over what Trump said and how he said it is an unfortunate sign of the times.

Nate Jackson · Oct. 19, 2017

“It might be the stupidest and most unworthy controversy of the year, and that’s saying something,” lamented National Review’s Rich Lowry. He’s referring to the kerfuffle over President Donald Trump’s response to the four U.S. Special Forces soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month. That dustup is now in its fourth day.

In short, the White House team reportedly drafted a message of condolence right away, but it took Trump 12 days to say anything. On Monday, Trump responded to questions about it by complaining about how such calls make for a “very, very tough day” for him and then slamming Barack Obama for not calling families of fallen soldiers. Trump even singled out his own chief of staff, John Kelly, who he says didn’t receive a call from Obama when Kelly’s son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Then Democrat Rep. Frederica Wilson insisted that Trump was insensitive to the family of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the soldiers killed in Niger, when he finally did call. According to Wilson, who says she heard the call on speakerphone, Trump allegedly told Johnson’s widow that “he must have known what he signed up for.”

So here are a few thoughts that will, in our book, put this one to bed. Trump is not ever going to “get it right” when it comes to the decorum of being president. That’s not why he was elected, and everyone knows it. Nevertheless, the Leftmedia must constantly churn this reality TV garbage to generate viewership and advertising revenue. Think of all the articles and television news segments dissecting what the president knew and when he said something and who the offended families are and if Trump actually made a promised donation to another family and whether Obama ever made a phone call. Four days’ worth of “news” over the politicization of the deaths of four Americans.

Perhaps that last bit is why Rep. Wilson went so far as to say, “This might wind up to be Mr. Trump’s Benghazi.” That comparison is utterly absurd and calls into question her version of events.

If Trump said what Wilson alleges, context matters a lot. But don’t take our word for it. Arnold Wright, whose son, Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, was one of the four killed in Niger, had this to say: “My son knew what he signed up for. He signed up to be a Green Beret. He had no illusions about what that meant.” Wright, himself a veteran, continued, “My son came from a military family with a tradition that dates back to 1812. He fully knew what it means to serve and the risk involved.”

Trump is a thin-skinned, unpolished guy, but we’d venture to say most military personnel and their families know they finally have a president who supports them. The rest of us should express our gratitude for the sacrifices made by military Patriots and their families, as well as offer our own prayers and support.

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