- The Gold Star family of a fallen US Army soldier received their $US25,000 personal check from President Donald Trump that was promised months ago.
- The check’s date is the same date of The Washington Post’s report that first revealed Trump’s offer of the money.
- “I’m still speechless,” Jessie Baldridge, the soldier’s mother, said.
The Gold Star family of a slain US Army soldier reportedly received their $US25,000 personal check from President Donald Trump, months after receiving a condolence call from Trump and being offered the money, according to an ABC11 reporter on Monday.
A letter signed from Trump was also sent, which offered condolences to Chris Baldridge, the father of Sgt. Dillon Baldridge.
“I am glad my legal counsel has been able to finally approve this contribution to you,” the letter reportedly said. “Enclosed is a check for $US25,000 — I hope this will make things a bit easier, but nothing will ever replace your son, Dillon. He was an American Hero.”
The check’s date, October 18, is the same date as the Washington Post report that first revealed Trump’s phone call to the Baldridge’s. Trump had reportedly offered $US25,000 to the family and proposed to help establish an online fundraiser, several weeks following the death of Dillon. The Post, however, said that as of the report’s publication, Trump had done neither.
“I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this,” Baldridge said at the time. “He said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but he said, ‘I’m going to do it.'”
After The Post’s report, a White House official said that there was a “substantial process that can involve multiple agencies anytime the President interacts with the public, especially when transmitting personal funds,” and that “the check has been in the pipeline since the President’s initial call with the father.”
Despite the wait for the check, the Baldridges said they were grateful for the gesture.
“I’m still speechless,” Jessie Baldridge, Dillon’s mother, said to ABC11. “We are so moved and grateful, and we promise to use the money to honour Dillon’s legacy.”
“We just thought he was saying something nice,” Jessie continued. “We got a condolence letter from him [a few weeks later] and there was no check, and we kind of joked about it.”
The Baldridges were also reportedly writing a letter of appreciation to the White House, according to ABC11.
“We want you to know how grateful we are for this generous gift from you,” the letter said. “We also want you to know that we intend to use this money to start a nonprofit organisation in Dillon’s name into something you can be proud of … Our goal is to help as many fellow Americans as possible for the rest of our lives.”
Trump’s response following the deaths of four US soldiers in Niger have received rebukes from lawmakers and the military community, with some saying his comments were “insensitive” and made far too late. Trump and his staff have since fired back at their critics, sparking a week-long feud with the Gold Star families and Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, the congresswoman that represents the district of a slain soldier.
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