Of 43 Gold Star Families, How Many Has Trump Taken Time to Call?

President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Let’s not forget, folks. President Trump calls each and every family of every fallen U.S. soldier, traditionally.

He’s 9 months into his term, but already, he’s done more for vets, shown more compassion, bridged more divides than any president, living or dead, in the nation’s history.


Truly, he is a legend in his own mind.

To date, there are 43 families of fallen soldiers, since Trump took office. The Associated Press tried to reach out to all 43 families, in order to see if, in fact, Trump had called each of them.

Their efforts turned up 18 families, with half who said they’d heard from Trump, but the other half is saying they’d heard nothing from him.

We’re already aware of his response to the four Green Beret soldiers killed in Niger. That call came, but only after intense media pressure.

He’d not even spoke of their deaths before Monday.

What about the others?

After Army Spc. Christopher Michael Harris, 25, of Jackson Springs, North Carolina, was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan in August, the White House offered to set up a call but “it fell through” and no letter came from the president, either, said his widow, Brittany Harris.

Aaron Butler, a 27-year-old guardsman from Monticello, Utah, was killed Aug. 16 at a booby-trapped building in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. His mother, Laura Butler, and family spokesman Bill Boyle said Trump has not called or sent a letter. The family is not complaining. “The family is very careful that they do not want to be pulled into a partisan slugfest,” Boyle said.

That’s honorable.

Are there any Trump supporters among those families?

It appears so.

Jodie Missildine’s 20-year-old stepson, Alex Missildine, was killed Oct. 1 when an IED exploded near his vehicle in Ninawa Province, Iraq. He had been in Iraq for less than a month.

Jodie Missildine said the family had received an outpouring of support from Washington since receiving news of Alex’s death. But when asked if Trump had been in contact, she demurred, saying, “We will not speak ill of a president who adores his troops.”


So that’s a “no.”

After U.S. Army Specialist Isiah Booker died Jan. 7 in Jordan, apparently when operating heavy construction equipment, President Barack Obama did not call. Neither did Trump after he took office that month. Chereisa Booker, of Schertz, Texas, said Trump had taken office by the time a condolence letter was processed and she and her husband received the letter. They also asked for and got one from Obama. But no calls.

Booker said “not really” when asked if she wanted to hear from Trump. But Sheila Murphy did after her son, Army Spc. Etienne J. Murphy, 22, died May 26 after an armored vehicle he was riding in rolled over in Syria.

“Because it was non-combat, I feel like maybe he thought it was an accident, it doesn’t matter,” Sheila Murphy said of Trump. “But my son was in Syria.” She says she’s waited in vain for a letter, even after writing to Trump six weeks ago to tell him she was still deeply grieving.

“I hate sunrises because I have to deal with another day that my son is not here,” she told the AP Wednesday. “I welcome sunsets because I’m hoping that maybe when the sun goes down I won’t have to deal with another sunrise. So sunrises are my enemy right now.”

And those are the hard ones. She’s not coping. She likely wants somebody to give her comfort and some answers, as to why her son lost his life.

If that be the case, then she’s probably better off not hearing from Trump. Kindness is not in his wheelhouse.

Cynthia Kimball received a letter from the president, but no call, after her Navy son John Henry Hoagland III died in the collision between the USS John S. McCain and a merchant vessel in August. “They said we could order more copies of it if we wanted,” she said. “It was pretty generic. I hate to say that, because it did come from Washington and the president. But, I’m going to guess that it was the same or similar to the letter that everybody else received.”


I’ve got a letter like that from President Bush, but then, I didn’t lose a loved one in combat.

Ms. Kimball wasn’t completely processed and forgotten, however.

McCain, himself, though, called her and other families of the victims. He left a “really nice” phone message with his cell phone number in case she needed anything, she said. Kimball lives in Fort Benning, Georgia, and her son grew up in Cleveland, Texas.

Now, that’s reaching out.

There will be more stories like this to come out of this whole incident, and when they do, Trump has no one to thank, but himself.

He is incapable of getting out of his own way.


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