GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - White House Chief of Staff John Kelly spoke in support of President Donald Trump Thursday after a Gold Star widow reported being offended that President Donald Trump told her it was what her husband had 'signed up for.'
The president has received backlash for the comments on both sides of the aisle, being called insensitive, callous and mean. Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida responded, "That is not a good message to say to anyone who has lost a child at war. You don't sign up because you think you're going to die. You sign up to serve your country.”
“If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you could imagine. There's no perfect way to make that phone call. My first recommendation was he not do it,” John Kelly said to defend Donald Trump.
Action 2 News found a Howard Gold Star dad, and also heard from Republican Representative Mike Gallagher Friday. Both echoed Kelly's sentiments.
“[Kelly] really exposed sort of the bankruptcy of the hysteria about this over the last week,” was the response from Rep. Gallagher Friday morning. ”I hope that his comments should allow us to all take a pause before we freak out about a lot of this stuff."
Army Cpl. Justin D. Ross of Green Bay died March 26, 2011 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. His dad, Ron Ross, has no problem with what the president said about ‘what he signed up for,’ because Ross says not only is it true, but a factor that brings him quite a bit of pride.
"What I tell people who say, 'How do you deal with this?' I say, 'Justin signed up for this. He was doing exactly what he wanted to do.” Ross told Action 2 News.
“In fact, most people in what they say— it's very hard to know what to say. So many people say stuff like, 'it will get better, he's in a better place,' and what I would tell me wife Debbie is, 'At least they didn't avoid us." Ross said.
Ron Ross says his family got a letter signed by President Obama, but not a phone call. Governor Walker went to a memorial for Justin, which Ross says was a surprise. He says his family appreciated all of it.
“I don't know any Gold Star families that have had a call from the president. But if the president was to call us, we would just be so honored,” Ross said.