Tag Archives: Gold Star Families

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.

Gold Star controversy boils up again

Donald J. Trump has a consistent problem with Gold Star families, indeed he seems to have similar problems with men and women who’ve served in combat.

Do you recall in the summer of 2016 how he told the parents of a young American killed in Iraq that they “had no right” to criticize Trump over his views of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East? The parents happen to be Muslim, as was their son, an officer in the U.S. Army.

He once said that Sen. John McCain was a “war hero” only because he was captured by the North Vietnamese after his jet fighter was shot down. “I like people who aren’t captured, OK?” he said.

Trump contended falsely that previous presidents didn’t call the families of warriors slain in battle.

Now he’s reportedly told the wife of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger, that Sgt. Johnson “knew what he was getting into, but it still hurts.” The president has bristled at a congresswoman who said she heard Trump say it.

Do you see a pattern here?

I just cannot fathom what prevents the president from saying simply this: Please know that our nation grieves with you. We feel deeply for the pain you are suffering and we appreciate beyond measure the sacrifice your son/daughter has made in defense of the nation.

He cannot do that. He apparently is not wired with the empathy or compassion gene. Trump turns everything back to himself. He makes himself the story, either by design or by clumsy incompetence.

We are witnessing yet another manifestation of this man’s unfitness for the job to which he was elected.

Presidents are expected to deliver words of comfort. They are expected to serve as nation’s consoler in chief. Americans expect this — among other things —  from their head of state.

Donald Trump keeps failing to deliver.


Apology tour on tap for Trump? Hardly!


Donald J. Trump might consider going on an apology tour as he prepares to become president of the United States.

He won’t, of course. Trump doesn’t apologize. He has no regrets. He doesn’t seek forgiveness. He said all that, correct?

I mention this because some of Trump’s supporters think Mitt Romney needs to say he’s sorry for those mean things he said about Trump. Mitt’s apology needs to be a precursor to him becoming secretary of state, they say; Trump is considering Mitt for the job at State.

CNN contributor Dean Obeidallah has it exactly right: Trump needs to do the apologizing, not Mitt.


Trump cruised down the escalator at Trump Tower in the summer of 2015 to announce his presidential candidacy and launched into a tirade that insulted Mexicans, who he described as rapists, murderers, drug dealers.

Then it got worse. He insulted Muslims, a disabled New York Times reporter, a Gold Star family, Sen. (and former prisoner of war) John McCain, women … you name it he insulted ’em.

Trump trampled all over people’s sensibilities while winning the presidency. His performance on the campaign trail will remain — likely for decades, maybe forever — as one of the great mysteries of this campaign. Imagine for as long as you wish — take all the time you need — any other candidate saying what Trump said about any of those groups.

An apology tour would be a good thing for Trump to do. It would cleanse his soul.

Of course, the next president won’t do anything of the sort.

In Trump’s world, apologies are for losers.

‘Widespread chatter’ that Trump should drop out?


I remain extremely dubious of a notion that’s being kicked around about Republican Party presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.

It’s that Republican “insiders” are telling Trump to drop out of the race and give the nomination to someone who at least can help the GOP retain control of at least the Senate, if not the House of Representatives as well.


Let me be as clear as a mountain spring on this: It will not happen …. not like that.

Trump won’t drop out because someone is telling him to do so. If he were to drop out of the race, I am beginning to believe it would be because he had planned to do so all along.

Trump’s fans — the numbers of whom seem to be shrinking — have been fond of telling us how “unconventional” his campaign has been.

You want unconventional? Not a single thing would surprise me about what this guy might do. He’s already said things about political foes that in a normal election year would have gotten him tossed to the side of the campaign trail. It’s almost as though he has wanted to lose the GOP primary fight.

Now, do I believe that Trump has calculated an exit from the campaign? Do I believe he’s already made that decision?

No. I do not believe such thing.

Neither do I believe that Trump is going to do what others want him to do.

Politico reports that key Republican “insiders” took a survey about Trump’s candidacy. According to Politico: “The effect Trump is having on down-ballot races has the potential to be devastating in November,” added a Florida Republican. “His negative image among Hispanics, women and independents is something that could be devastating to Republicans. Trump’s divisive rhetoric to the Hispanic community at large has the potential to be devastating for years to come.”

Politico reports that Trump has made zero indication that he’s going to drop out.

What the heck? He won the GOP nomination fair and square. He knocked 16 other opponents out of the ring. He rolled up big vote totals. I give him credit for that. Honestly.

Still, there’s something amazingly unpredictable about this guy. He’s violated every political norm there is to violate. He’s still standing. But in the wake of his party convention and the convention that nominated Hillary Rodham Clinton, he has managed to make an unbelievable array of unforced errors.

He has invited Russia to hack into Clinton’s e-mails to see what she discarded; he has said Russia hasn’t occupied Crimea, when it has. He has decided to attack two Gold Star parents because they were critical of him at the Democratic National Convention.

And yes, his once-vaunted poll standing has plummeted.

Does anyone really expect this individual to do what other party leaders want him to do, such as quit the race?

No. If he does, it’ll be part of some grand plan he cooked up long ago.

But I don’t actually expect that to happen, either.

Unless …