WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump has sent a $25,000 check he promised to the father of an Army sergeant killed in Afghanistan.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Trump offered the money during a telephone conversation with the father of Dillon Baldrige a few weeks after the 22-year-old was killed in Afghanistan on June 10. The Post reported that White House officials declined to discuss the matter when contacted Wednesday morning.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said later Wednesday that the check has been sent. She did not say when.
Walters also criticized the news media and accused reporters of using a “generous and sincere” gesture made privately by Trump to advance what she describes as a “biased agenda.” Walters called it “disgusting.”
A White House spokeswoman says Chief of Staff John Kelly is “disgusted” that dealing with military deaths has become “politicized.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Kelly is frustrated that “the focus has become on the process and not that American lives were lost.”
Sanders did not directly address whether Kelly knew that Trump would cite the death of his son in Afghanistan to question whether President Barack Obama had properly honored the war dead.
She says Trump had spoken with Kelly “multiple times,” but adds: “I’m not sure if he knew of that specific comment, but they have certainly spoken about it. And they have spoken several times.”
Asked if Trump politicized Kelly’s son’s death, Sanders says, “He was responding to a question and stating a fact.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Donald Trump has made as much contact as possible with families of slain military service members.
Sanders said Wednesday that there is a protocol created by the White House Military Office for the president to contact the families.
First, the Department of Defense notifies the next of kin. Then, the Pentagon sends information to the White House, which has to then be re-confirmed. Once done, the president reaches out to the family.
Sanders said Trump has reached out to every family that has been authorized by the military office.
The Associated Press found relatives of four soldiers who died overseas during Trump’s presidency who said they never received calls from him.
Relatives of two soldiers also confirmed they did not get letter.