Almost exactly one year to the day, then-candidate Donald Trump boasted he would run the country like he runs his business.
That was music to people’s ears if they were hoping a businessman would be able to reform Washington dysfunction.
It was not music to people’s ears if they had once dealt with Trump in the board room.
Ironically, amid the string of prevarications characterizing his presidency, that is the one promise Trump has kept.
On June 10, an Afghan police officer fatally shot 22-year-old Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge of Zebulon, NC and two other soldiers.
In Trump’s condolence telephone call to Sgt. Baldridge‘s father, Chris, a construction worker, Baldridge expressed his frustration with the military’s survivor benefits program. His ex-wife is their son’s beneficiary, so she was to receive the Pentagon’s $100,000 death gratuity.
He told Trump:
“I can barely rub two nickels together.”
According to Baldridge, the president responded:
“I’m going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000.”
“I was just floored. I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He [Trump] said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but he said, ‘I’m going to do it.’”
Mr. Baldridge never received the money.
According to the Washington Post, Trump made good this week only after news was released.
This is similar to the promise Trump made in Des Moines, Iowa in January 2016 after a nationally televised fundraiser for veterans’ groups at which he raised $6 million and pledged $1 million of his own.
He didn’t actually deliver the money until media inquiries forced him to four months later.
This latest revelation adds to the controversy surrounding Trump’s interactions with Gold Star families of fallen soldiers.
This week details emerged about Tuesday’s phone call with the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, ambushed and killed October 4 with three other U.S. soldiers in Niger.
Trump reportedly said:
“[Sgt. Johnson] knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”
According to Politico, National Security Council staffers drafted and disseminated a statement of condolence for President Trump to make almost immediately after the Niger attack, but Trump didn’t deliver the statement for 12 days.
Trump defended himself by claiming he had written to the soldiers’ relatives, and alleged former President Barack Obama and other past presidents had never or rarely called soldiers’ families.
But Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, fired back, saying:
“[Trump’s claim is] an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards.”
Obama’s former deputy chief of staff of operations, Alyssa Mastromonaco, tweeted:
“That’s a f—ing lie. To say president Obama (or past presidents) didn’t call the family members of soldiers KIA – he’s a deranged animal.”
It looks like Trump is running the country like Trump Industries, like he promised.
Image credit: dailystar.co.uk