President Trump offered to send $25,000 to a father who lost his son serving in the military in Afghanistan in June and the White House said the check is in the mail, despite Trump appearing to not initially follow through on the offer.
When Trump called the father of Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge to express his condolences, Baldridge shared his ex-wife had been listed as their son's beneficiary and as a result, she would receive the Pentagon's $100,000 death gratuity. However, Baldridge said he could "barely rub two nickels together."
In response, Trump told Baldridge he would write him a check for $25,000 and said his staff would create an online fundraiser for the family.
"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 Washington Post. "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.'"
Initially, the White House did not send Baldridge a check -- only a condolence letter. However, the White House said they had sent the check Wednesday, the same day the original report was published.
After initially not commenting on the story, a White House spokeswoman told the Post, "The check has been sent. It's 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."
Trump has faced backlash this week for his responses to Gold Star families, families who have lost loved ones while serving in the military.
President Trump told the widow of one of the four soldiers killed in Niger this month that her husband "knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens it hurts anyway," according to Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla.
Trump made the comment Tuesday to U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson's widow, Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant with her late husband's third child. Trump called Myeshia Johnson just before her husband's body arrived at the Miami International Airport. Wilson was with her in a limousine and heard the conversation via speakerphone, although the White House denied the accusation Wednesday.
Trump has politicized calling families of fallen soldiers, and claimed Monday that former President Barack Obama and other former presidents "didn't often" make calls.The White House announced Tuesday Trump spoke over the phone with all four of the families of the soldiers killed in Niger.Four U.S. Army Special Forces were killed during an ambush of a joint patrol of U.S. and Nigerien forces along the Nigerien-Mali border.
At least 20 Americans have lost their lives serving the nation since January.