BREA (CBSLA) — The president denies it, but a Florida congresswoman who says she listened to the call says President Donald Trump told a grieving widow whose husband — a Green Beret — was just killed in Niger, “He knew what he signed up for.”
That comment caused a firestorm on social media Wednesday with many people calling the comment “insensitive” at best. The congresswoman was also quoted as saying the widow said, “He didn’t even know his name. He kept saying ‘your guy.'”
CBS2’s Michele Gile spoke to a local Gold Star father who weighed in on the controversy.
When Gary Brittain’s son Joel died in Iraq in 2004 he got a letter from President George W Bush. Brittain proudly showed off medals his son was awarded during his tours of duty.
The Gold Star father from Brea talked Wednesday about Trump’s call to La David Johnson’s family.
The soldier’s aunt says it was disrespectful. The president said that controversial comment never happened and he could prove it. He offered no proof.
Regarding the comment that had caused so much controversy, Brittain said he knows the president had a tough job and he doesn’t think the comment, if he did in fact say it, was that big a deal.
“As a guy, I don’t know that that would have bothered me. Because, I’m like, well, he went into combat. It’s what he did. There’s bullets flying. Bombs going off. Say that to a mother, and I know a lot of Gold Star mothers, I have a feeling somebody’s going to want to pull your heart out of your chest. … That’s just not anything anybody wants to hear.”
Brittain considers himself a conservative Democrat and voted for Trump. He also believes the president will do more for veterans. Trump, he believes, cares deeply about the troops.
“I think compassion is an important thing,” Brittain said, “without being there I would have hoped that he was compassionate. I just don’t know if something was taken out of context or not. And I certainly would hope no one would be making it political.”