The family of a fallen soldier thrust into the national spotlight by the president’s promise months ago of a $25,000 gift was left “speechless” when they finally received the check.”I’m still speechless,” Jessie Baldridge told ABC affiliate WTVD. “We are so moved and grateful, and we promise to use the money to honor Dillon’s legacy.”
The family spoke exclusively to WTVD after getting the check and a letter from the president on Monday.
When Chris and Jessie Baldridge’s son, Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, was killed in Afghanistan in June, the grieving family received a condolence call from President Trump. To their surprise, the president offered to give the family a $25,000 gift.
But after weeks passed and the check never came, the Baldridges say they didn’t raise the issue.
“We just thought he was saying something nice,” Jessie Baldridge said. “We got a condolence letter from him (a few weeks later) and there was no check, and we kind of joked about it. We didn’t take to social media and didn’t complain.”
But the story came to national attention after an article by the Washington Post mentioned the president’s unusual offer — and the delay in its completion.
White House officials responded after being asked about the president’s promise last week, saying the check was in the mail.
The officials said “a substantial process” is involved in the president’s interactions with the public and that the check had been “in the pipeline” since Trump’s initial call with the family.
The check, shown to WTVD, was dated for October 18, the same date the White House was asked to respond to the Washington Post article.
Spokeswoman Lindsay Walters hit back forcefully at the suggestion that the president didn’t intend to follow through on his gesture to the family.
“It’s disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the president, and using it to advance the media’s biased agenda,” Walters said.
It was not clear if the president had made similar offers to other Gold Star families.