Top Story: Trump’s Variable ‘Proof’

President Trump’s insistence that he has ‘proof’ that his call with Myeshia Johnson, widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, did not go the way she claimed is not the first time he has claimed to have proof of something that he later walked back. Famously, he claimed he had recordings of his meetings with James Comey, the director of the FBI he later fired. He was also famously one of the lead advocates in the racist Birther conspiracy, and he had to rescind his claims then as well.

This is a problem of his own making. Speaking and contacting the families of the fallen (called Gold Star families) is a presidential tradition stretching back decades at least. His flippancy with this tradition would just be continuing the typical idiom this administration has operated under so far. However, the president again pulled the spotlight onto his lack of empathy when he claimed that he was the first president to call and contact the gold star families. This is patently untrue (the Obamas and the Bushes not only called troops, they also visited the wounded at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and received the remains of the fallen at Dover Air FOrce Base), and continues to show Trump’s infatuation with the military is superficial, and disrespectful, such as when he mocked the family of Humayun Khan, or the experiences of torture endured by Senator John McCain.

The President is the Commander in Chief, and all service members are under his care and command. When these service members risk their lives, the President is supposed to understand the burden and responsibility of such a grave action. These contacts are supposed to provide reflection for the cost of going to war, and sew empathy to guard against frivolous conflict. President Trump apparently does not, and possibly cannot, understand this.