Donald Trump is such a sleaze.
In case you haven’t been following this story, the POTUS made a point on Tuesday — after erroneously claiming other presidents didn’t call families of soldiers — of calling the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger two weeks ago.
He also apparently planned to make a media coup of the moment as Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who is a friend of the family, says reporters were waiting at the airport (when their limousine arrived to greet the coffin) to ask them about the call.
But that backfired when he reportedly failed to remember Johnson’s name, and even told Myeshia Johnson her husband “knew what he signed up for.”
The President then angrily tweeted on Wednesday that Wilson — whose account was backed by grieving mother Cowanda Jones-Johnson btw — was a liar, and that he had proof.
Naturally, a reporter asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders what proof that was exactly? Were there recordings? Sanders said:
“No, but there were several people in the room from the administration that were on the call, including the Chief Of Staff, General John Kelly.”
Her response is typical of what we’ve come to expect from her position under Trump: general vague support of the president that stops short of ever saying he was being truthful or accurate.
Because they can’t. Because LIES!
We wrote down some of Sanders’ vague, shifty answers for ya, along with our best shot at translating them into plainspeak.
Did Trump actually call the families of all the fallen soldiers since he’s been President as he claimed?
“The president’s made contact with all of the families that have been presented to him through the White House military office… “
Translation: No, the military liaisons don’t trust him with comforting parents and widows.
What about all the families that have come forward saying they haven’t been contacted at all?
“All of the individuals that the president has been presented with through the proper protocol have been contacted through that process.”
Translation: It wasn’t Trump’s fault. It probably happened but was someone else’s fault. Maybe the bereaved?
So is the President denying he said the soldier “knew what he signed up for”? Is anyone willing to even deny that?
“The president’s call as accounted by multiple people in the room believed that the president was completely respectful, very sympathetic, and expressed the condolences of himself and the rest of the country, and thanked the family for their service and commended them for having an American hero in their family. And I don’t know how you could take it any other way.”
Translation: Nope, no denial. He said that shit.
Frankly, the press gave Sanders every opportunity when they explicitly asked if Trump just thought the words were taken out of context. It would have been so easy for her to say, “Yes. He said those words, but not in the way it sounds.”
She didn’t do that. Instead, she said:
“I’m not get into the back and forth. The sentiment of the president very clear. He took the time to make a call to express his condolences, to thank the family for this individual’s service. And it, frankly is a disgrace for the media to try to portray an act of kindness like that, and that gesture, and try to make it into something it isn’t.”
What about him not knowing Sgt. Johnson’s name, only referring to him during the call as “your guy”?
“Just because the president said ├óΓé¼╦£your guy’ I don’t think that means he doesn’t know his name. As president, the hardest job he has is making calls like that. It is appalling what the congresswoman done, politicizing this issue. This was a president who loves our country very much, who has the greatest level of respect for men and women in uniform, and wanted to call and offer condolences to the family. And to try and create something from that, that the congresswoman is doing is frankly appalling and disgusting.”
Translation: Trump actually did his job for once, who cares if he did it poorly? How dare you cover Trump’s failed publicity stunt and accurately portray him as the horrible, empathy-lacking dolt, unable to even comfort a widow, that he obviously is?
We may have overdone it on that one, but the point is the White House can’t deny the claims. It obviously happened. So they’ve reverted to the strategy of saying the media is being cruel for covering it.
When you can’t say Fake News, just go with Inappropriate News we guess.
And the beat goes on.
See the whole press conference and interpret for yourself (below):
[Image via WH.gov.]