In early June, Dillon Baldridge, a twenty-two-year-old soldier from Zebulon, was fatally gunned down by an Afghan police in a suspected insider attack. A few weeks later, President Trump called Baldridge's grieving father to express his condolences and offer him $25,000. He also vowed to create an online fundraising campaign for the family.
Neither of those things happened, according to the fallen soldier's father, Chris Baldridge.
These revelations come from the Washington Post
, which published an article
this afternoon detailing Trump's offer to the Baldridge family and his rocky relationship with Gold Star families. Although Trump claims that he has spoken to every family of a soldier killed in combat on his watch, the Post
’s reporting indicates this isn’t actually the case. According to the article, at least twenty Americans have died in action since Trump's inauguration. The Post
spoke to thirteen of those families; about half said they had never heard from him.
This story comes on the heels of another scandal involving Trump and Gold Star families. Earlier in the week, Trump caused a stir when he erroneously claimed that past presidents never called the relatives of fallen soldiers.
In response to the Post
article, the White House insisted that the money was sent to the Baldridge family and called the media’s reporting of the story "disgusting."
From the article:
President Trump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said.
Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, told The Washington Post that Trump called him at his home in Zebulon, N.C., a few weeks after his 22-year-old son and two fellow soldiers were gunned down by an Afghan police officer in a suspected insider attack June 10. Their phone conversation lasted about 15 minutes, Baldridge said, and centered for a time on the father’s struggle with the manner in which his son was killed.
“I said, ‘Me and my wife would rather our son died in trench warfare,’ “ Baldridge said. “I feel like he got murdered over there.”
In his call with Trump, Baldridge, a construction worker, expressed frustration with the military’s survivor benefits program. Because his ex-wife was listed as their son’s beneficiary, she was expected to receive the Pentagon’s $100,000 death gratuity — even though “I can barely rub two nickels together,” he told Trump.