WaPo: Trump Promised $25K To Grieving Military Father But Never Sent A Check

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

President Donald Trump promised a grieving father $25,000 after his son, an Army corporal, was killed in Afghanistan in June. But he never followed through on the promise, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Chris Baldridge told the Post that when Trump called him a few weeks after his son, Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, was killed by an Afghan police officer on June 10, he had mentioned to the President that his ex-wife was listed by their son as the beneficiary of the Pentagon’s $100,000 death gratuity.

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

But the grieving father told the Post that the check never came. Trump also promised that his staff would create an online fundraiser for Baldridge, but that didn’t happen either, Baldridge told the Post.

In a statement to the Post, White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters said “[t]he check has been sent,” and that it was “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 story recalled a previous scandal over Trump’s charitable giving to veterans: A full four months passed before Trump donated a promised $1 million to veterans’ causes, during which time his campaign lied about Trump having already donated the money.

Trump also claimed — while admitting Monday and Tuesday that he had not yet been in touch with the four military families who lost loved ones in Niger on Oct. 4 — that he had spoken to “every” family of a service member killed during his presidency.

According to the Post, that’s not true: The paper found five families who lost service members during Trump’s tenure as President who had not heard from Trump over the phone. The Associated Press earlier on Wednesday contacted one family who had not been in touch at all with Trump, via phone or letter.

Asked on Monday why he had not publicly discussed the four Green Berets who died in a raid in Niger on Oct. 4, Trump said he would call and send letters to their families, and then accused other presidents of not calling the families of fallen soldiers.

Officials in past White Houses quickly refuted the claim.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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