- The family of a US soldier killed in Afghanistan has received a $25,000 personal check from President Donald Trump that was promised months ago.
- The check’s date is the same as that of a Washington Post report that first revealed Trump’s offer of the money.
- “We are so moved and grateful, and we promise to use the money to honor Dillon’s legacy,” Jessie Baldridge, the soldier’s mother, said.
The family of a slain US soldier has received their $25,000 personal check from President Donald Trump months after receiving a condolence call from Trump and being offered the money, according to an ABC11 reporter on Monday.
A letter signed by Trump was also sent with condolences to Chris Baldridge, the father of Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, who was one of three US soldiers killed in Afghanistan when an Afghan police officer fired on them. The Taliban have since claimed responsibility.
“I am glad my legal counsel has been able to finally approve this contribution to you,” the letter reportedly said. “Enclosed is a check for $25,000 — I hope this will make things a bit easier, but nothing will ever replace your son, Dillon. He was an American hero.”
The check’s reported date, October 18, is the same date as that of a Washington Post report that first revealed Trump’s phone call to the Baldridges. Trump had reportedly offered $25,000 to the family and proposed to help establish an online fundraiser several weeks after Dillon’s death. The Post, however, said that as of the report’s publication, Trump had done neither.
“I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this,” Baldridge told The Post of his reaction when Trump first offered the money. “He said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but he said, ‘I’m going to do it.'”
After The Post’s report, a White House official said that there was a “substantial process that can involve multiple agencies any time the president interacts with the public, especially when transmitting personal funds” and that “the check has been in the pipeline since the president’s initial call with the father.”
The Baldridges expressed gratitude upon finally receiving the check.
“I’m still speechless,” Dillon Baldridge’s mother, Jessie, told ABC11. “We are so moved and grateful, and we promise to use the money to honor Dillon’s legacy.”
“We just thought he was saying something nice,” she continued. “We got a condolence letter from him (a few weeks later) and there was no check, and we kind of joked about it.”
The Baldridges were also writing a letter of appreciation to the White House, according to ABC11.
“We want you to know how grateful we are for this generous gift from you,” part of the letter said, according to ABC11. “We also want you to know that we intend to use this money to start a nonprofit organization in Dillon’s name into something you can be proud of … Our goal is to help as many fellow Americans as possible for the rest of our lives.”
Trump’s response following the deaths of four US soldiers in Niger early this month have received rebukes from lawmakers and the military community, with some saying his comments were “insensitive” and made far too late. Trump and his staff have since fired back at their critics, sparking a weeklong feud with a Gold Star family and Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, the congresswoman who represents the district of a slain soldier.