Oct 19, 2017

Family members of fallen military speak out on Trump

Myeshia Johnson cries at the casket of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, killed in an ambush in Niger, when his remains arrived in Miami on Tuesday. Photo: WPLG via AP.

Relatives of nine of the 43 military members who have died during Trump's presidency (21%) tell AP that they haven't heard from him.

Why it matters: Trump told Fox News Radio's "Brian Kilmeade Show' on Tuesday: "[T]o the best of my knowledge, I think I've called every family of somebody that's died ... I have called, I believe everybody but certainly I'll use the word 'virtually' everybody ... I've called virtually everybody."

  • "Despite Trump's boast that he reaches out personally to all families of the fallen, interviews with families members did not support his claim. Some never heard from him at all, and a few who did came away more upset."
  • AP "reached out to the families of all 43 people who have died in military service since Trump became president and made contact with about half the families. Of those who would address the question, relatives of nine said they had heard from Trump by phone or mail. Relatives of nine others said they haven't."
  • "Chris Baldridge of Zebulon, North Carolina, told The Washington Post that Trump promised him $25,000 of his own money when they spoke in the summer about the loss of his son, Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, killed in Afghanistan, but the check never came. The White House said [yesterday] that 'the check has been sent.'"
  • "After Army Sgt. Jonathon M. Hunter [23] died in a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan in August ... Mark Hunter, his father, said a military casualty officer informed the family that Trump would call and the family was let down when he didn't."

Go deeper

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.