The newest controversy in the Trump White House has to do with comments President Donald Trump made to the family of a slain soldier.
A Florida congresswoman, Frederica Wilson, says that the wife of Army Sgt. La David Johnson was told by Trump that her husband “knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway.” Trump denied that he said the comment. The family of Johnson says they were disrespected.
At Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders received many questions on the incident. She was combative over the entire incident, blaming the media and Wilson for inflaming the incident. When asked if Trump is sending letters to the families of slain soldiers, Sanders was blunt, saying that the president communicates with Gold Star families in different ways.
She then declared who she blamed for the entire ordeal:
“Sometimes they call, sometimes they write letters, sometimes they engage directly. The comments were certainly, I think, taken very far out of context by the media, and if there’s any frustration, I think that’s where it should be focused.“
Sanders denied that Trump was disrespectful to the family, saying “the president was completely respectful, very sympathetic and expressed the condolences of himself and the rest of the country …”
However, Sanders really got personal when asked about a fellow staff member at the White House. Chief of Staff John Kelly was a Marine general and lost his son in Afghanistan in 2010. Trump mentioned that fact in a recent interview, noting that Kelly was only given a form letter by President Barack Obama at the time.White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Win McNamee/Getty Images
When asked about Kelly’s opinion on the entire event, Sanders snapped, saying:
“I think that Gen. Kelly is disgusted by the way that this has been politicized and that the focus has become on the process and not the fact that American lives were lost. I think he’s disgusted and frustrated by that. If he has any anger, it’s towards that.”
Trump visited the grave of Kelly’s son on Memorial Day this year.
Closing the comments, Sanders said: “The sentiment of the president was very clear. He took the time to make a call to express his condolences to thank the family for this individual’s service, and I think it frankly is a disgrace of the media to try to portray an act of kindness like that and that gesture and to try to make it into something that it isn’t.”