'It's just the haters': Kellyanne Conway brushes off criticism that Trump is politicizing soldiers' deaths
Kellyanne Conway (Screengrab / Fox News)

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway on Thursday addressed controversy surrounding comments Donald Trump made to the widow of a fallen soldier, telling Fox News’ Harris Faulkner it’s “just the haters” and “people of privilege” trying to “score cheap political points against the president.”

Trump on Tuesday spoke with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month. After facing criticism for failing to acknowledge the fallen soldiers, the president finally made the call 13 days after the attack. When he did so, he told the widow, in part, that her husband “knew what he signed up for,” according to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), who was present during the phone call. Johnson’s parents have since backed up the congresswoman’s account.

Faulkner asked Conway to consider the uproar in the context of “bias” against the president,. The Fox News host noted Trump has since refuted Wilson’s account of the conversation, telling reporters he “didn’t say it at all.”

Conway appeared to acknowledge that Trump did, in fact, say the soldier knew what he signed up for, arguing the problem is instead that the media is leaving out the “full quote.” Conway pointed to Wilson’s own account of the conversation, pointing out the president followed up with some variation of “it’s never easy or it’s very difficult.”

“It’s just the haters being presumptively negative, as they always are,” Conway said. “But you know what’s tragic? That family just suffered a loss … and yet it gets immediately politicized because people of privilege think they can score cheap political points against the president.”

“That’s what we do find to be most disgraceful,” she added.

Conway said Trump followed protocol of prior administrations, despite Trump himself claiming on Saturday that previous presidents did not reach out to the families of fallen soldiers.

“Sometime you call, sometimes you write, sometimes you go in, you receive the fallen soldier in a casket with an American flag draped on it, everyone, for a reason—the American flag is there for a good reason,” Conway said.

“You know what’s in his heart,” Conway insisted.

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