The widow of an Army staff sergeant who was killed in Afghanistan earlier this year shared her call with President Trump days after her husband's death with The Washington Post.
Natasha De Alencar, the widow of Army Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, who was killed in a firefight in Afghanistan in April, described her conversation with Trump as a "moment of niceness" during an otherwise turbulent and heart-wrenching time.
“At that moment when my world was upside down and me and my kids didn’t know which way we were going, it felt like I was talking to just another regular human,” she told the Post.
In a video of the call, Trump can be heard saying that he was sorry about the "whole situation" and telling De Alencar that her husband was "an unbelievable hero."
“If you’re around Washington, you come over and see me in the Oval Office,” Trump says later in the call.
He then proceeds to ask about her children — five in all — and tells De Alencar to "tell them their father was a great hero that I respected.”
De Alencar's account of the phone call with Trump comes as the president faces criticism for his calls to the families of four Army soldiers who were killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month.
Trump had largely remained silent on the Oct. 4 ambush, but when he was asked by a reporter on Monday why he had not publicly commented on the fallen soldiers, Trump claimed that he had called virtually every Gold Star family since taking office and suggested that other presidents, including his immediate predecessor, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Memo: Biden, bruised by Afghanistan, faces a critical test in Ukraine Is the US capable of thinking strategically? Juan Williams: GOP infighting is a gift for Democrats MORE, rarely if ever made such calls.
After Trump called the families of the fallen soldiers this week, Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonFAA levies 5K in fines against unruly passengers this year CBC-led Commission on Social Status of Black Men and Boys has first meeting Democrats press DOJ to prosecute unruly air passengers MORE (D-Fla.), who was in a car with one soldier's widow, alleged that the president had been insensitive on the call and that he hadn't even remembered the soldier's name. Trump denied the allegation.
On Thursday, Trump's chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE made an emotional appearance at the White House press briefing to defend the president's handling of the situation and criticize Wilson for publicizing the call. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, also recalled his experience receiving the news that his own son had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
"If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you can imagine,” he said.