One Gold Star mother is now saying she felt disrespected by former President Barack Obama as his successor, Donald Trump, faces intense criticism for his handling of a call to the widow of a slain Green Beret.
Julie Schrock’s son, Marine Cpl. Max Donahue, was severely injured in Afghanistan in 2010 and later died. He was only 23 years old.
“When my son died, then-President Obama not only made no effort to reach out, but the condolence letter we received was signed by a computer,” she told the New York Post. “He didn’t even sign the letter!”
Schrock went on to say she received “multiple copies of the letter” and was told by the White House there was a “glitch” in the system and she would likely receive more copies. The Gold Star mother said she was just told to throw any additional letters away.
“I anonymously reported this to our local news station, which ran it one time versus the three days of Trump mishandling of a Gold Star condolence,” she said. “Sad and hurtful to say the least.”
She also called out the press, saying it “pains” her to see the media bias that “is obvious to anyone willing to dig a little deeper than just believing what they hear on the news.”
Schrock, it should be noted, is the same Gold Star mother who condemned NFL players for taking a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In an interview, which you can watch below, Schrock said the national anthem and the American flag should “be respected and honored.”
“That flag was at Iwo Jima and 9/11 and on my son’s casket,” she said in late September. “That’s what was handed to me, that flag has a meaning that should be honored and respected.”
Trump has been roundly condemned for his call to Gold Star wife Myeshia Johnson, whose husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, died during an ambush attack in Niger.
Johnson said she cried following the president’s call, which has been picked apart by the press in recent days, “because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it.” Trump reportedly didn’t invoke her husband’s name and said the slain soldier “knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyways.”
Another Gold Star family that’s receiving significantly less coverage, though, is the family of slain Cpl. Dillon Baldridge.
Several months ago, Trump vowed to give the Gold Star parents a check for $25,000 to jump-start a nonprofit foundation in honor of their son. On Monday, the president followed through on that promise, and it left the family “speechless.”
The truth is, whether Republican or Democrat, our presidents are contacting these families in their darkest hour. There’s no doubt some of the communications will be misconstrued, bungled, and awkward, while others will be comforting and reassuring.
We all need to take a step back — regardless of politics — and be thankful for the families who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. Sometimes, more than anything, all a Gold Star family wants and needs is for someone to listen.