Stop cheapening Gold Star sacrifices

It never should have gotten to this point.

The president of the United States gets asked a question from a reporter about his silence over the deaths of four U.S. Army personnel in an ambush in Niger.

He answers with a false recitation of what he understood was presidential policy regarding the deaths of service personnel in the line of duty.

Then he is overheard — allegedly — telling the wife of one of the slain soldiers that he “new what he was getting into … but I guess it still hurts.”

Then come the insults between Donald John Trump and Florida Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who blabbed about what she overheard the president say. Trump has been working his Twitter fingers overtime in hurling insults; Wilson has responded.

And then came John Kelly, the retired Marine general and himself a Gold Star father to defend the president and to express “shock” that Rep. Wilson would reveal what she heard.

Stop already!

The Gold Star families who are caught in the middle of this petulant p****** match deserve better than to be used as political footballs. They deserve only to grieve in private. They deserve to be honored for their sacrifice. They deserve only to be comforted and saluted.

It’s not turning out that way. It has become a political sideshow featuring — for crying out loud! — the commander in chief, a member of Congress, the White House chief of staff.

Who started this ridiculous exchange? I’ll put the blame on the president. He couldn’t simply say in response to that initial question that he’ll call the families soon and leave it at that. No-o-o-o. He had to misstate what has been common practice by three of his predecessors.

Then for him to denigrate a member of Congress — a friend of the grieving family at the center of this ridiculous exchange — goes beyond the pale. He calls her a “wacky Democrat.”

I’ll harken back to the statement of retired U.S. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who said this politicization denigrates the service of the fallen soldiers and dishonors the grief their loves are enduring.

Oh, the shame of it all.

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