He Shouldn’t Be President

President Donald Trump, left, sitting next to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, speaks during a meeting of the committee and members of the President's economic team in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/AP
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Another simply bizarre new thread in the Trump bereavement call story. The Post called the families of service members who’ve died in the line of duty since Trump became President. There were some good stories, some bad; some had never heard from the President. There were a lot of what you might call Trumpian moments. But the really bizarre story was his conversation with Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, killed in Afghanistan.

The call seemed to go well enough at first, Baldridge was particularly hurt that his son had been killed by an Afghan soldier who turned his gun on his American allies. But one of Baldridge’s concerns was that his son’s survivor benefits are going to the father’s ex-wife, while he is apparently struggling financially.

Trump told him he’d send him a personal check for $25,000. Not standard and complicated, inasmuch as presumably the President isn’t going to cut everyone a check. But it’s not unprecedented. I believe I remember that there are records of President Obama sending sums of money to private citizens who were struggling.

But then Trump forgot about it.

From the Post …

The president’s response shocked him.

“He said, ‘I’m going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,’ and I was just floored,” Baldridge said. “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.’”

And then there’s more.

Baldridge said that after the president made his $25,000 offer, he joked with Trump that he would bail him out if he got arrested for helping. The White House has done nothing else other than send a condolence letter from Trump, the father said.

“I opened it up and read it, and I was hoping to see a check in there, to be honest,” the father said. “I know it was kind of far-fetched thinking. But I was like, ‘Damn, no check.’ Just a letter saying ‘I’m sorry.’”

Trump apparently told Baldridge he’d have the White House staff set up an online fundraiser for Baldridge too. But then nothing happened.

In response, a White House spokesperson said: “The check has been sent. 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.”

So it certainly sounds like the check was sent after the Post started asking questions, in other words, sort of like how the Niger calls shook out.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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