The White House came out strongly Wednesday against a Washington Post article claiming that President Trump failed to send a promised check for $25,000 to the father of a soldier killed overseas.
The report, which followed a number of controversies the president has encountered with Gold Star families, was labeled “disgusting” by the White House and a tool “to advance the media’s biased agenda.”
In a call to Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, The Post reported that Trump offered the money and added that he would order his staff to establish a fundraiser online for the family. The call, Baldridge said, came weeks after his 22-year-old son was killed in what was thought to have been an insider attack by an Afghan police officer.
Two other soldiers were killed in the June 10 incident.
After allegedly telling Trump that only his ex-wife would benefit from the Pentagon’s $100,000 death gratuity, the president offered to help on his own.
“He said, ‘I’m going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,’ and I was just floored,” Baldridge told The Post. “I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but he said, ‘I’m going to do it.’”
According to Baldridge, neither the money – nor the online fundraiser – ever materialized. He did, however, say he received a condolence letter.
But the check was sent out, according to the White House, although it wasn’t immediately clear when.
“The check has been sent,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Fox News. “It's disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the President, and using it to advance the media's biased agenda.”
The report from The Post followed conflicting narratives surrounding a call Trump made to the fallen widow of a soldier killed in Niger earlier this month.
During a conversation with the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson Trump said that Johnson "knew what he signed up for," Democratic Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson alleged. Wilson was with the family as they traveled to to Miami International Airport to meet the fallen soldier’s body.
Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, later backed the congresswoman’s account, telling The Associated Press that Trump showed “disrespect.”
On Twitter, the president labeled the congresswoman's recollection a “total fabrication.”
Fox News' Serafin Gomez contributed to this report.