Sheila Murphy fell into a depression after her Army son was killed in Syria in May, prompting her to write to President Donald Trump and tell him that “some days I don’t want to live.”
Trump never responded.
Trump’s treatment of the families of U.S. soldiers killed overseas has come into sharp focus this week after the president was confronted for his silence on four service members killed in Niger. In justifying why he had waited more than two weeks without making a public statement, Trump accused former President Barack Obama of not calling the families of dead service members.
Many families of soldiers killed during Obama’s presidency have come forward to say that Trump’s statement is false, and other families of members killed during Trump’s presidency have said his claim that he calls bereaved families is wrong as well.
Sheila Murphy, who lost her son in May in an armored vehicle rollover in Syria, told The Associated Press that she waited for months for a call or letter from Donald Trump. Murphy said she even wrote Trump an anguished letter but still has heard no reply. The report did not note if Trump had received the letter personally.
The report noted that there is ample evidence of both Obama and George W. Bush quietly reaching out directly to families of deceased U.S. service members, but that Trump’s politicization of the matter is highly unusual. Trump’s statements bringing Obama into the fold have led to widespread criticism of Trump, with accusations that he is using the families of dead service members in an attempt to make some kind of political gains.
“I just wish that this commander in chief would stop using Gold Star families as pawns in whatever sick game he’s trying to play here,” said Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq veteran who lost both legs in an attack.
Donald Trump has also earned criticism for his phone call to the family of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, one of the soldiers killed in Niger. During the phone call, Trump reportedly told family members that Johnson “knew what he signed up for.” Trump came under fire from Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a Democrat from Florida who was with the family during the phone call and relayed the message to the media afterward.
Donald Trump denied Wilson’s assertion that he made the statement, the New York Times reported, but Johnson’s mother spoke up on Wednesday to affirm that Trump did use those words when speaking to the family.
[Featured Image by Alex Edelman-Pool/Getty Images]