President Donald Trump talks with new Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar from the Oval Office.
The White House on Wednesday said President Trump has sent a $25,000 check to the father of a slain Army soldier — nearly four months after having made the offer and on the same day it was reported by the Washington Post.
Chris Baldridge, whose son Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge was killed by an Afghan police officer on June 10, told the Post that Trump called him “a few weeks” after the killing.
The call lasted about 15 minutes, he told the paper, and he was “shocked” when the president offered to send him a check for $25,000.
But nearly four months after the exchange, Baldridge said there had been no follow-up.
Baldridge said Trump's offer came after he told the president how he was frustrated with the survivor benefits program because his ex-wife was listed as their son's beneficiary and he could “barely rub two nickels together.”
On Wednesday, after the Post wrote a story about the exchange, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told BuzzFeed News the check had been sent, but when asked, did not specify when the check was mailed.
Baldridge could not be immediately reached for comment.
Trump's interactions with the families of US soldiers killed in action took center stage this week after the mother of a slain soldier killed in Niger, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, and a congresswoman who said she was privy to the speaker-phone call, claimed the president's comments were disrespectful to the family.
Sgt. La David Johnson.
According to Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Democrat, Trump told the family that Johnson, who died in a surprise attack, “knew what he signed up for..but when it happen sit hurts anyway.”
Johnson's mother confirmed the exchange, telling the Washington Post “Pesident Trump idd disrespect my son and and my daughter and also me and my husband.”
Trump and the White House have denied the claim. Talking to reporters Wednesday, the president said he had “a very nice conversation with the woman — the wife, who sounded like a lovely woman.”
Prior to the Johnson family, Trump took heat for false statements he made regarding questions from reporters about we he had waited weeks to contact the families of those killed in the Niger attack, saying past presidents hadn't reached in the same manner.
Her reportedly made a similar claim with Baldridge, telling the grieving father that “no other president has ever done something like this.”
However, there are reports of previous presidents haven taken similar action and cutting personal checks to grieving families.
Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow wrote about then-President Obama personally read 10 letters a day from Americans and “a few times” sent personal checks to people who wrote about their struggles.
Former President Ronald Reagan also responded to at least one person, an 11-year-old girl, with a personal check when she asked for help for a fundraiser.
Walters, the White House spokeswoman, meanwhile told the Post it was “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.”