White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who lost a son in Afghanistan, gave a powerful defense at Thursday's press briefing of President Trump's handling of a call to a Gold Star widow. Trump was accused by a Democratic member of Congress of insulting the wife of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger, during a phone call on Monday.
"There’s no perfect way to make that phone call," Kelly said.
"If you’ve never worn the uniform, if you’ve never been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make that call but I think he very bravely does make those calls," he said about the president.
"[President Trump] said to me, ‘What do I say?’ ‘I said to him, ‘Sir, there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families,’” he said.
Kelly said a friend advised him to tell the loved ones of fallen soldiers that the dead were "doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were."
That phrasing sounds very similar to the "insensitive" comment Johnson's family said Trump told them, that the sergeant "knew what he signed up for."
The former Marine General also added that he was not criticizing President Obama when he told Trump that he had not gotten a phone call after the death of his son. "When my son was killed his friends were calling us from Afghanistan, telling us what a great guy he was,” Kelly said.