I believe President Trump deserves credit for reaching out to the families of fallen American soldiers, a task that his chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, whose son died in combat, says "is about the most difficult thing you can imagine."
While Trump may have told the wife of one of the four American special forces troops who were killed Oct. 4 on that raid in Niger, "He knew what he signed up for," -- even though he denies it -- I do not believe it was meant in a cold, uncaring way. I believe he was probably searching for words at an extremely difficult moment, when nothing he could say would really make a difference.
It is a shame the incident has become politicized. That should not be. Yes, it took nearly two weeks -- after a lot of criticism by the media and his opponents -- for Trump to make the calls. But he did, clearly struggling, after asking Gen. Kelly this:
‘How do you make these calls? If you’re not in the family, if you’ve never worn a uniform, you’ve (never) been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make that call.'
But, said Gen. Kelly, " he very bravely does make those calls.”
Whether Rep. Fredericka S. Wilson, a family friend of the fallen soldier, accurately reported those words that she claims to have overheard on a speaker phone, remains to be seen. The soldier's mother has apparently confirmed the remarks.
Nevertheless, these situations should not be turned into political fodder. Lord knows, I am no fan of Donald Trump. But in this case, I am convinced he made a sincere, if painful, effort to console the family and let them know that America stands with them.
As Gen. Kelly told reporters today, "We honor our fallen in America."