The story broken today about Donald Trump’s failure to make good on a promise to pay the father of a fallen soldier is a shocking illustration of just how sociopathic the president is. Reported the Washington Post:
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.”….
“He [Trump] said, ‘I’m going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,’ and I was just floored,” Baldridge said. “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.’ “
It’s hard to know where to begin with this given it is offensive and shameful on so many levels. While the original sentiment may have been well intentioned, is really another example of Trump believing that by chucking money at people, they’ll love him for it. By telling the father that “No other president has ever done something like this,” we get to see his real motivation. The offer wasn’t to help the poor man financially, it was to make Trump feel good about himself in comparison to other presidents. If you give money to a good cause, you don’t need to brag about how much more you’re giving than anyone else. If you do, it’s not about the cause, it’s about you.
By not following through on his promise, the story becomes not only narcissistic and tacky, but sociopathic and cruel. Baldridge no doubt desperately needed the money and was extremely grateful for the promise of financial help, but to then realize that Trump wasn’t going to bother making good on it adds a level of shame and humiliation that is hard to convey into language.
This man lost his son in a war fought for his country — and when the president of the United States called Baldridge personally to console him, it must have helped in some small way to heal his wounds. Baldridge was made to feel like his son’s life mattered, and with the offer of financial assistance made to feel like his life mattered. Then, in the weeks and months afterwards, he was made to feel like neither mattered at all.
This is the President of the United States — a man who is supposed to represent the best of what America has to offer. Instead, he represents the very least of what it means to be American and has absolutely no shame letting everyone know about it. This latest example of Trump’s cruelty towards the father of a dead soldier tells us nothing new about the man, but it does reveal the depths of just how deplorable he really is, and how little he cares about anyone other than himself.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.