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October 25, 2017

How Gold Star families became a political issue

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  1. President Donald Trump continues to face criticism for a condolence call to the Gold Star family of Sgt. La David Johnson, a Special Forces soldier recently killed in Niger.
  2. Gold Star Families are the relatives of US military members who died in battle.
  3. On Monday, Myeshia Johnson, the 24-year old widow of Sgt. Johnson, said she was very upset by the conversation and cried after President Trump mispronounced her husband’s name. Trump responded over Twitter refuting the widow’s statements.
  4. At the end of last week, Chief of Staff John Kelly, who lost his son in the war in Afghanistan, defended Trump saying that such phone calls are difficult to make and criticized Rep. Wilson for listening to the conversation.
  5. There was a time when a political leader would never politicize the death of a service member or question a grieving family, said Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report. “It’s a little bit like the customer’s always right. Right? The grieving family is always right in this case,” she said. Walter added this was no longer the case after Trump criticized the Khan family, a Gold Star family, after they spoke out against him at the Democratic National Convention last summer.

  1. Essential questionWhat is the role of the president in regard to the families of soldiers who have died in battle?
  2. How might showing empathy towards a person you may not agree with help under difficult circumstances?
  3. Veterans’ Day takes place on November 11th. What do you know about this holiday?
  4. Media literacy: These questions pertain to the following 4-minute news segment from last week in which Chief of Staff John Kelly describes the difficulty in losing his son to war and why he defended President Trump’s phone call to Myeshia Johnson.
    • Do you think Kelly’s decision to discuss the death of his son as it pertains to Gold Star families and condolence calls was helpful? Explain your answer.
      • How important is it to listen to the full speech of a person and not just soundbites?
      • When consuming news, how do you know if you are getting the full story?
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