Why Both Donald Trump And Frederica Wilson Need To Show More Respect For Gold Star Families [Opinion]

It was widely reported last week that U.S. President Donald Trump had “insulted” the family of Sgt. La David Johnson when he called to offer his condolences to his widow, Myeshia Johnson. As reported by the Inquisitr last week, Trump stands accused of a lack of tact when he reportedly told Mrs. Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for.” The alleged details of the conversation between President Trump and Myeshia Johnson were leaked by Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. Trump has used Twitter to attack Wilson, calling her “wacky” and claiming that Wilson is killing the Democratic Party.

The story really began to gather pace when Trump was asked about the deaths of the four members of the U.S. special forces, including Sgt. Johnson, in Niger. Trump had stayed silent on the issue for 12 days, and when pressed, he claimed to have been in personal contact with “virtually all” of the families of U.S. military personnel killed on his watch.

As reported by the Independent, research suggests that this claim is untrue. Twenty of the 43 families of those who have died in military service during Trump’s presidency responded to press inquiries, and almost half of them said that President Trump had not been in contact.

As reported by CNN, Sgt. Johnson was laid to rest on Saturday in Florida. Sadly, while Sgt. Johnson’s family were laying an American hero to rest, President Trump was continuing his feud with Congresswoman Wilson on Twitter. Congresswoman Wilson is hardly blameless in this entire fiasco. Wilson has played her part in stoking up what has become a political football match over Sgt. Wilson’s death.

[Image by WPLG/AP Images]

As reported by the Guardian, Frederica Wilson claims that Niger will prove to be Donald Trump’s Benghazi. That may be true, and there are many unanswered questions about the mission that cost Sgt. Johnson and his colleagues their lives. The point is that as a member of Congress, Wilson has the proper means at her disposal to call President Trump to account for Niger. It should be done in private because a continuing public slanging match between Trump and Wilson serves only to trivialize the death of a member of the U.S. special forces.

There are very good reasons why special forces operations are kept secret. Our special forces are often called upon to operate in “deep cover” missions behind enemy lines, often in areas where they are at very high risk. Special forces are often called upon to assist foreign governments in secret, often in countries where knowledge of their presence would be “political suicide” for the ruling regime in those countries.

Countries like Niger face a growing threat from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Quaeda, and the deployment of special forces is essential for intelligence gathering and advising foreign governments on how to best combat that threat. As reported by CNN last year, President Barack Obama used special forces operations forces “to carry out so-called ‘small wars’ across the Middle East and Africa.” It would be foolish to assume that those operations do not continue under Donald Trump’s presidency.

Frederica Wilson Donald Trump
[Image by Alan Diaz/AP Images]

By continuing their war of words over Sgt Johnson’s death, Donald Trump and Frederica Wilson are throwing special forces operations into the brightest public glare imaginable. That act increases the risk of the men and women on those operations. Both Donald Trump and Frederica Wilson need to stop using Sgt. Johnson as a political football, and they need to stop increasing the risk to our military overseas.

[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]