President Donald Trump donated $25,000 to the father of a fallen soldier, but the nation’s commander-in-chief is getting only grief for it.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post published a story on how Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, was contacted by Trump a few weeks after his 22-year-old son and two fellow soldiers were killed by an Afghan police officer on June 10.
U.S. authorities suspect the police officer was acting as an anti-American agent.
Trump and Baldridge spoke for 15 minutes, The Post reported. The grieving father told Trump that his son’s death was made worse by the nature of the attack — a trusted Afghan ally turned the gun on U.S. soldiers.
“I said, ‘Me and my wife would rather our son died in trench warfare,'” Baldridge told The Post. “I feel like he got murdered over there.”
Trump then learned Dillon Baldridge’s ex-wife would get the $100,000 death payment from the Pentagon, and that the father and family needed money. That’s when Trump did something straight from the heart.
“[Trump] said, ‘I’m going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,’ and I was just floored,” Chris Baldridge told The Post. “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.'”
There, the stories of The Post and the White House diverge. The check never came in the mail, according to The Post, and had not arrived as of Wednesday. Efforts by LifeZette to reach Chris Baldridge were unsuccessful.
But when contacted by The Post — and LifeZette — an angry White House communications department insisted the check had been sent.
“The check has been sent,” said Lindsay Walters, White House deputy press secretary, in an email to LifeZette. “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.”
The White House did not divulge how the money was sent, or when.
But by early Wednesday evening, many media outlets that reported on The Post’s story had to run updates. ABC News posted a story early Wednesday evening about how Chris Baldridge was sent the check.
Behind the scenes, White House officials are angry that The Post — as well as other media outlets — are calling the families of soldiers killed since Trump became president, asking if Trump has personally contacted them.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that four families of soldiers killed overseas had not been called by Trump.
The media digging was kicked off by reaction to Trump’s remarks on Monday that some previous presidents had never called the families of fallen soldiers. Trump said he always made efforts to contact such families, known by the Pentagon as Gold Star families.
The Post, which won a Pulitzer Prize for tracking down Trump’s charitable donations and pledges, took Trump’s remarks as a new challenge.
White House officials said The Post is trying to make hay out of Trump’s unsolicited donation, made during a private conversation, and one for which he sought no credit.
The Post’s attack on Trump was proof of liberal media bias, a White House official told LifeZette.