It took thirteen days, five rounds of golf, and being publicly called out for it by reporters before Donald Trump finally got around to calling the families of the four U.S soldiers who were killed in action in Niger. Now that Trump finally made the calls on Tuesday, he acted so embarrassingly offensively during at least one of those calls, it would probably have been better if he hadn’t called at all.
Trump called the pregnant widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson on Tuesday, and told the widow that Johnson “knew what he signed up for,” according to a local ABC News affiliate in Miami (link). This was confirmed by local State Representative Frederica Wilson, who condemned Trump for having been “so insensitive” to the grieving widow during the call. This points to several underlying problems, each of them more disturbing than the next.
First, it’s clear that Trump didn’t want to make these calls. No president would ever look forward to such a thing, but every modern president has done it in a timely manner, because it’s part of the job. Based on the amount of time that passed, Trump was clearly trying to get away with simply never making the calls. Second, this is a reminder that Trump has no people skills, no leadership skills, and no clue how to get through a conversation without saying something patently offensive. There’s also a third concern which may point to yet another of Trump’s basic failings as a human.
It’s been pointed out that Army Sgt. La David Johnson was the only African-American of the four U.S soldiers who were killed in the operation. Did Donald Trump also tell the families of the other fallen soldiers that they also knew what they had signed up for, or did he reserve these harshly offensive words for the one black family he spoke with? Donald Trump’s consistently racist words and policies raise the question of whether this was yet another instance of racism on his part.
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