President Donald Trump has a unique talent – and taste – for making bad situations worse. For making wild claims, then failing to back them up. He was at it – once again – on Wednesday morning when he tweeted about his now controversial Tuesday evening conversation with the widow of an American soldier killed in Niger.
That last sentence alone would’ve been enough to set off a five-alarm fire in any past White House. “Damage control mode,” or whatever you want to call it, exists for a reason. But the Trump presidency approaches that concept with disdain. Where his predecessors wielded fire extinguishers, Trump prefers a flame tosser.
And so, he woke up, apparently took in the reviews of his chat, and tweeted this:
But first, a quick rewind. How did we get here?
In brief: reporters asked Trump on Monday why he hadn’t spoken out about four soldiers killed nearly two weeks earlier during an ambush in West Africa. He didn’t quite answer, but did say he planned to call their families. (Yes, there was more, but let’s keep focused.) A day later, Trump made contact with the wife of slain Sgt. La David Johnson. Then, according to the family and Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, who listened in to their exchange, Trump offered this chestnut: “(Johnson) knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.”
Whatever the particular context, the path forward here – both as a matter of political course and simple manners – was pretty simple: Say sorry, or nothing, and move on.