The last thing a grieving parent or spouse wants to hear on their way to retrieve the body of their fallen loved one is: He knew what he was getting into.
Even if true (and it is), in that moment, what normal people, with regulated human emotions and compassion do is offer comfort and encouragement.
“Mrs. Johnson, I am so sorry for your loss. Your husband served honorably, and in this moment of grief, know that I, and indeed, our entire nation mourns his passing with you.”
See how easy that was?
I could speak that from the heart, mainly because I have one. That’s always helpful.
When Florida Representative Frederica Wilson said that she overheard Trump telling Sgt. La David Johnson “He knew what he signed up for… but when it happens, it hurts anyway,” Trump immediately attacked Wilson, claiming in an early morning tweet that he didn’t say it, and he had proof.
Shortly after, the White House issued a statement saying the president had been “misunderstood.”
Yeah. That kind of means he said it.
In fact, a story from the Washington Post today follows up with the mother of Sgt. Johnson, who was also in the car when the call from the president came through.
“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say these weren’t Trump supporters, to begin with.
That being said, in a moment such as this, the right words of comfort could have bridged that divide, at least for a time.
The Post asked Jones-Johnson, who was also in the car, if Wilson’s description of the conversation was accurate.
“Yes,” she said.
And this, like everything else surrounding Trump’s weak response to four dead Americans will dog his steps, simply because he’s incapable of speaking truthfully or doing the right thing.