Nothing is Sacred in Washington, Not Even a Soldier’s Death
By Peter Lucas
Reporters in their hearts know that President Donald Trump -- or any president -- did not and would not demean the death of a U.S. soldier killed in combat.
But they ran with the story anyway.
The media’s hatred of Trump is so deep -- and so troubling -- that nothing was going to stop reporters and television commentators from skewering Trump over his condolence phone call to the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson.
The bashing of the president came after his deliberately misinterpreted remarks were made public by flamboyant U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson of Miami, a Democrat who was with Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, when Trump made the call to offer his sympathies.
Wilson, who listened in on the private call, said, “I was in the car when President Trump called. He never said the word hero. He said to the wife, ‘Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.’ How insensitive can you be?”
Myeshia Johnson, in a later interview with former Clinton political operative George Stephanopoulos of ABC, said, “The president said that he (Sgt. Johnson) knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway. And it made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he couldn’t remember my husband’s name.”
Trump, of course, disputed all of this, but to no avail. The road to hell is often paved with good intentions, especially when the media detests you and everything you stand for.
Sgt. Johnson was one of four U.S. soldiers killed Oct. 4 in an ambush while on patrol in the African country of Niger, where the military is training local forces to battle radical Islamist terrorists.
While a phone call from the president to the relatives of a slain U.S. soldier is among the toughest calls a president makes, Trump made the call to widow Johnson, as well as to the family members of the other three fallen soldiers.
Of the calls, only the Johnson call became controversial. It did after Wilson turned it into an anti-Trump political attack, charging that the president’s remarks were insensitive and insulting.
Granted that Trump mangles the English language. But to accuse Trump, the America First president who loves the military, of insulting the widow of a slain soldier is really contemptible.
But that is the new low to which both journalism and politics have sunk in this country these days.
Any reporter who has covered a church fire knows instinctively that a U.S. president -- let alone flag-waving Donald Trump -- would never in a million years insult a war widow or any relative of an American soldier killed in action.
But maybe not. Many of the “journalists” bringing you the news these days are not even reporters in the traditional sense. They are Democrat ideologues and political operatives who have crossed over to highly paid television news positions.
Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, who knows a thing or two about war casualties and the sacred manner in which the military deals with them, told an unusual White House press conference that he was “stunned” and “broken-hearted” when he learned about Wilson’s remarks, and her behavior in listening in on the private presidential phone call.
Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, who was with Trump when he made the call to Sgt. Johnson’s widow, said, “I would have thought at least that was sacred.”
Kelly, a combat veteran who lost a Marine Corps son fighting in Afghanistan, said he was so taken aback by Wilson’s remarks that he went to Arlington National Cemetery to be “among the finest men and women on this Earth.”
In a moving and dignified commentary, Kelly said, “I went there for an hour and a half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed.
“It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me,” Kelly said.
He added that he thought -- wrongly -- that the president’s condolence call to Johnston’s widow was sacred.
Nothing is sacred in Washington. Everything is political, including the military and the burial of a fallen soldier. This is especially true when it can be shaped to make Trump look bad.
Kelly was right when he said members of the White House press corps do not know anyone killed in action or how the military handles those deaths.
How would they? These reporters don’t serve in the military. They are not among the “very best” 1 percent of the nation that volunteers to fight for their country. They just write what they’re fed, especially if it is anti-Trump.