Cassidy: We ‘Hope’ Communication Can Be ‘Better’ With Families Of The Fallen

Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said he thinks he and President Trump “communicate differently” and suggested he might have handled the conversation — and subsequent controversy — with the family of a soldier killed in Niger two weeks ago differently.

“Again, I can’t get into the President’s mind. We communicate differently. I am a doctor, so maybe I am more used to talking about emotions and bad things than other people are,” Cassidy said on CNN Thursday. “That said, in a tough emotional situation, sometimes you just have to cut folks some slack. It’s very difficult. … I’m not sure somebody on the outside looking in can fully understand that.”

When CNN host Chris Cuomo asked directly if he would have responded the same way Trump did when the family claimed they felt disrespected by the President, Cassidy skirted the question.

“You wouldn’t would you?” Cuomo asked.

“Well, I learned long ago in my marriage that it’s better to meet somebody where they are than demand — on the other hand, communication is the root of most conflict in humans,” he said. “And whoever is right or whoever is wrong, I think we have to leave it as poor communication and hope that all can do better.”

Cassidy said he wanted the Pentagon and Congress to get to the bottom of what happened two weeks ago when four U.S. troops were killed in Niger, details of which the White House has been tight lipped about since news of the deaths broke.

“We should have those answers,” he said.

Trump started the controversy over appropriate communication with the families of soldiers who die in combat by baselessly claiming at a press conference this week that his predecessors didn’t call the families of fallen soldiers, comments that were widely criticized by Gold Star families and aides of former presidents.

On Wednesday, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) told The Washington Post that Trump told Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, that her dead husband “knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”

Trump later claimed that Wilson “fabricated” his comments and said he had “proof,” which apparently meant there were other people in the room when Trump made the call, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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