In an interview with CNN on Sunday, actor Tom Hanks criticized a comment allegedly made by President Donald Trump to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger.
Hanks waded into the furor, stating: “I'm only knowing what I read in the newspapers and what have you, and it just seems like it's one of the biggest cock-ups on the planet Earth, if you ask me.”
During a phone call, the president reportedly told the wife of Army Sergeant La David Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for." It was a move that has been widely panned.
“This is a tragedy of the utmost consequence and it goes much longer beyond who's going to come out on top of the news story. I think it's very sad,” Hanks added.
Democratic Representative Frederica Wilson of Florida, who was in the car with Johnson’s widow when Trump called her, made the president's comments known, although he denied her version of events.
Hanks is one of a number of people who have spoken out in the wake of the president’s alleged comment. Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who hit out at Trump during the 2016 election campaign, also voiced his dismay with the president's recent comment.
Khan said in a Sunday interview with CBS’ Face the Nation: “I offer my deepest condolence to the families of my four sons, brave hero sons that died protecting us. Without their sacrifice, this nation would be vulnerable. They were serving this nation. They will always be remembered. Their families will always be remembered as best of America.
“I stand with them. I support them. They deserve utmost dignity and respect and privacy at this moment. That should have been quoted when this matter came to public. But that had not been done. It had been made political football. Again, I request and I ask utmost dignity, respect and privacy,” he added.
Trump’s comments to Johnson's widow came shortly after he claimed past presidents had not called the families of soldiers killed in action –in another incident that prompted a widespread backlash.
In speaking about the four soldiers killed in Niger, the president commented he would personally contact their families.
“I have written them personal letters, they have been sent or they’re going out tonight but they were written over the weekend. I will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families because I have done that traditionally,” MSNBC cited Trump's remarks.
“The traditional way if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate when I think I’m able to do it. They have made the ultimate sacrifice so generally, I would say that I like to call,” he added.
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