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Trump offers to pay murdered soldier Vanessa Guillen’s funeral costs

President Donald J. Trump meets with the family of U.S. Army SPC Vanessa Guillen Thursday, July 30, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. SPC Guillen was murdered at the Fort Hood Texas military base reportedly by a fellow Army specialist in April 2020. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
July 31, 2020

President Donald Trump met on Thursday with the family of a slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen and offered to pay for her funeral.

After discussing the circumstances regarding Guillen’s murder, Trump asked about when and where her funeral would take place and said: “If I can help you out with the funeral, I’ll help you with it, I’ll help you financially.”

Guillen, 20, went missing in April and her remains were found in July with indications she was murdered.

Natalie Kahwam, the attorney representing Guillen’s family thanked Trump and said she believed the U.S. military would already be paying for the funeral.

“That’s good. If you need help, I’ll help you out,” Trump reiterated his offer. “We’ll take care, we’ll make sure she is very respected, because I’ve seen statements about her from other people and you don’t get better statements about a person. I see many statements about many people and you don’t see statements like that, so she was very extraordinary.”

Asked about his offer to cover Guillen’s funeral cost, Trump said he has done so in the past for other U.S. service members.

“I have, I have. I have to do it personally, I can’t do it through government. I have because some families need help. They need help,” Trump said. “I don’t even know if you need help, maybe you don’t need help from a financial standpoint. I have no idea. I just think it’s a horrific thing that happened and if you did need help, I’ll be there to help you,” he continued.

Trump also vowed throughout his meeting with the family that the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and the U.S. Army are providing a “very strong investigation” of the circumstances surrounding Guillen’s disappearance and death.

Kahwam and Guillen’s family noted concerns Guillen had shared about sexual harassment on base at Fort Hood, Texas, and fears she had about retaliation if she reported her complaints. Kahwam noted one suspect in Guillen’s death, Aaron David Robinson, who took his own life after being approached by investigators. Robinson reportedly shared the workspace on base with Guillen.

Guillen’s family has also promoted legislation, known as the #IAmVanessaGuillen Bill, which would allow service members to file their complaints outside their direct chain of command to help avoid retaliation.

Vanessa’s sister, Guadalupe Guillen, speaking on behalf of another family member, called on Trump to support the legislation. “She just said that my sister Vanessa Guillén, she’s making history, whole nation, almost international, and she wants you to be a part of it because we hope to have your support.”

Trump said, “you have our support and we’re working on it already, as you know, and we won’t stop, and hopefully something very positive will come out in honor of your sister.”