A check for $25,000 from President Donald Trump to the family of a slain soldier is in the mail, the White House says — after the solider’s family said they had never received the promised money.
In a call to Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, The Washington Post reported that Trump offered the money and added that he would have his staff establish an online fundraiser for the family. The call came weeks after the 22-year-old and two fellow soldiers were killed by an Afghan police officer.
“I said, ‘Me and my wife would rather our son died in trench warfare,’ ” Baldridge said. “I feel like he got murdered over there.”
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said that the money was on its way.
“The check has been sent,” she said, according to The Post. “It’s disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the President, and using it to advance the media’s biased agenda.”
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The Post notes that President Barack Obama took 18 months to send an undisclosed amount of money promised to the family of Kayla Mueller, who died in 2015 while she was held captive by the Islamic State in Syria. The sum was sent only after a report by ABC News called attention to the situation. Obama later described the delay as an oversight.
U.S. Rep Frederica Wilson told reporters on Tuesday that Trump called Myeshia Johnson on Tuesday and said her husband Sgt. La David T. Johnson “knew what he signed up for… but when it happens it hurts anyway.”
Trump’s 5-minute call came as Johnson was on her way to Miami International Airport – just before her husband’s body arrived from overseas, said Wilson, who was accompanying the family. Wilson said she overheard the conversation.
Myeshia Johnson is pregnant with the couple’s third child and is due in January. They share a 2-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter.
Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to deny Wilson’s version of events, claiming he could prove he didn’t say those words to the widow.
“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof),” he wrote. “Sad!”