WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sent a $25,000 personal check to the family of a fallen soldier the same day The Washington Post reported he had promised the soldier’s father a personal donation during a June condolence call but never followed through.
A White House official confirms the president sent a personal check Wednesday to the family of Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge on Wednesday. Baldridge, 22, was killed in June by an Afghan police officer.
According to the Post, Trump called Chris Baldridge in June, weeks after his son was killed.
During the call, the Post reported, Trump offered him $25,000 and said he would instruct his staff to establish an online fundraising page for the family.
“The check has been sent,” said Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman. “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.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was a personal check from Trump.
The timing of Trump’s donation raised questions because the Post reported Wednesday that White House officials initially declined to discuss the events in detail but later told them the check had been sent.
“‘I’m going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,’ and I was just floored,” Baldridge told the Post of his conversation with Trump.
“I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but he said, ‘I’m going to do it. ”
A White House spokesman, speaking on background, said the check has been “in the pipeline” since the president’s conversation with the father.
“The president has personally followed up several times to ensure that the check was being sent. As stated earlier the check has been sent,” the spokesman said.
When asked why it took so long for the funds to be sent, the spokesman added: “There is a substantial process that can involve multiple agencies anytime the president interacts with the public, especially when transmitting personal funds. In this situation there were other agencies involved.”
The spokesman did not say which agencies were involved or elaborate on the process.
Knowledge of Trump’s pledge to Baldridge comes amid the ongoing flap about how presidents handle condolence calls to families of those killed in action and Trump’s feud with a Democratic congresswoman over his call with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed earlier this month in Niger.
Trump called Myeshia Johnson on Tuesday and, according to Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson, the president said that the serviceman killed “knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.”
Trump denied that he ever said that.
“I didn’t say what that congresswoman said. Didn’t say it at all,” Trump told reporters during a Wednesday meeting on tax reform in the Cabinet Room. “She knows it. And she now is not saying it. I did not say what she said.”
At the same time, the White House is dealing with Trump saying former President Barack Obama didn’t call all the families those killed during his presidency and suggesting that reporters ask his chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly, whether Obama called him after his son died in Afghanistan.
Kelly’s son Robert died when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, was a lieutenant general at the time.AlertMe