After a military ambush in the African country of Niger left four soldiers in the American military dead, President Donald Trump attempted to make a sincere phone call to the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson. However, as with everything this President does, the aftermath was not without controversy as new revelations were brought to light, and accusations were thrown from both sides.
Following an ambush in Niger, four soldiers were killed and among them was Sergeant La David Johnson, whose body was not recovered and brought back to the United States until nearly 48 hours after the attack. Senator John McCain, Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was reportedly angered the week before about the lack of communication and details that the White House had provided, until he chaired a closed briefing and learned more about what had happened. McCain later told reporters across the American news networks, “I am pleased at the cooperation we’re getting now.”
Donald Trump came under intense political scrutiny after his handling of a phone call to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, when she said that the President “made me cry even worse” by saying that her husband knew “what he signed up for.” Trump tweeted the next day, (when does he not?) and said that he had a “respectful conversation” where Trump “spoke his name from the beginning, without hesitation!”. As with almost anything in life, if you have to justify it via Twitter with an exclamation point, you probably didn’t do it.
Myeshia Johnson’s story was corroborated by Democratic Florida representative, Frederica Wilson, and family friend Cowanda Jones-Johnson, who raised La David from the age of five after his mother passed away. Both were in the car alongside Ms Johnson while she received the phone call from President Trump, and both were vocal supporters of Ms Johnson in the aftermath of Trump’s response.
“I mean, is this guy really so completely void of compassion that he is physically and verbally incapable of saying the words, “I’m sorry for your loss”?”
Trump had previously boasted about his record of condolence calls whilst attacking former President, Barack Obama, when he said, “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls – a lot of them didn’t make calls.”. This is simply not true. Obama would write condolence letters, often meet with families in person, and in the rare occasions he couldn’t, he would telephone those families to offer his condolences, which were not publicised by the White House, in stark contrast to Trump’s administration.
I mean, is this guy really so completely void of compassion that he is physically and verbally incapable of saying the words, “I’m sorry for your loss”? In the week following the incident, Trump actually pointed to his own head, claiming he had “one of the greatest memories of all time”, and that he had a better recollection of his condolence call than she did. It seems that Trump creates his own political firestorms, and then bemoans the press when they report on everything he says and does to cause them.
Given Trump’s history of insensitivity, racism, sexism, rudeness, bullying, and a whole host of other undesirable traits, this latest scandal does honestly not surprise me. Shocked and disgusted, absolutely. But this is the kind of man Donald Trump truly is, and despite the plenty of attempts he’s had to prove himself a good man who can do the right thing as President, he constantly defies expectations by saying the next big incredulous thing. Whether it be arguing with a newly widowed young woman, or presenting clear lies about former Presidents, Trump has once again demonstrated his inexplicable lack of desire to be competent or decent.
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