President Donald Trump revealed on Wednesday that the hardest part of his job is having to write letters to the parents of soldiers that have been killed and having to see the pain and suffering from the parents as they see their child returned to the United States in a coffin draped in a U.S. flag.
Trump’s remarks inside the White House come as the U.S. decided to pull its forces back from an area in Syria, which has allowed Turkish forces to invade the area where they are reportedly attacking the Kurds.
“The hardest thing I have to do, by far, much harder than the witch hunt, is signing letters to parents of soldiers that have been killed,” Trump said. “And it’s not only that — in areas where there’s not a lot of upside, if there’s any upside at all, and in many cases, it’s only downside.”
“The hardest thing I have to do is signing those letters. That’s the hardest thing I have to do. And each letter is different,” Trump continued. “We make each letter different. And last week, I signed five of them for Afghanistan; one in Iraq; one in Syria, from two weeks ago. And sometimes I call the parents. Sometimes I see the parents. I go to Dover, when I can, but it’s — it’s so devastating for the parents that — you know. It’s so devastating when they bring that boy or young woman out of the back of those big, powerful planes in a coffin, and the parents are there.”
Trump has been widely criticized by both Republicans and Democrats for his decision to pull forces out of the area, with many stating that the U.S. was “abandoning” its Kurdish allies.
The hardest thing I have to do as President… pic.twitter.com/6bzwh78I00
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2019
Partial transcript of Trump’s remarks:
But it was time to bring our soldiers back home. So I see — and I will tell you: The hardest thing I have to do, by far, much harder than the witch hunt, is signing letters to parents of soldiers that have been killed. And it’s not only that — in areas where there’s not a lot of upside, if there’s any upside at all, and in many cases, it’s only downside.
And especially when that solider was killed in a Blue-on-Green attack. You know what that is, right? That’s where a solider being trained or whatever turns his gun on an American solider. “Here, son. Take your gun. You know how to use it.” And he takes the gun and he turns it. And he shoots one — we have many of them in Afghanistan — in particular, in Afghanistan.
The hardest thing I have to do is signing those letters. That’s the hardest thing I have to do. And each letter is different. We make each letter different. And last week, I signed five of them for Afghanistan; one in Iraq; one in Syria, from two weeks ago. And sometimes I call the parents. Sometimes I see the parents. I go to Dover, when I can, but it’s — it’s so devastating for the parents that — you know. It’s so devastating when they bring that boy or young woman out of the back of those big, powerful planes in a coffin, and the parents are there.
You know, we have people that do that. That’s what they do. They — they work that. They accommodate everybody. That’s what they do. They an incredible job. And they said — I said, “The parents seemed to be okay.” I’ll get there early. “The parents seemed to be okay.” “Well, actually, sir, they aren’t.” “No, no. The way they’re talking. They’re really okay, aren’t they?” “Sir, you never know until the back of that massive cargo plane opens up.” And they walk down holding a coffin with four or five great soldiers on each side of it, representing our various forces. That you never know.
And then I see it. And I see people that were smiling, “Oh, Mr. President, thank you for being here. Thank you for being here.” And I think they’re doing great. And then, twenty minutes later, we’ll be outside when that big plane pulls up and that door comes down, and they are walking the coffin with their boy inside this coffin with an American flag over the top. And they’re walking that coffin down this ramp. And I’ve seen people that I thought were really incredible the way they were ta- — I didn’t even understand how they could take it so well — scream, like I’ve never seen anything before. Sometimes they’ll run to the coffin. They’ll break through military barriers. They’ll run to the coffin and jump on top of the coffin. Crying mothers and wives. Crying desperately.
And this is on these endless wars that just never stop. And there’s a time and there’s a place, but it’s time to stop.
And just to finish, last Friday, I went to Walter Reed. And I gave out five Purple Hearts to incredible young men — in this case, all men. And they took a beating. Beautiful people. They took a beating. One couldn’t be there because the beating was so great that he was at a totally different part of the world. He lost a leg. He lost an arm. Ryan. He had tremendous damage, beyond even what these young folks went through.
But I’ll tell you what: For me, it’s very hard when I see that. It’s very hard. It’s easy to talk tough. You know, tough guys. All of these tough guys. “Let’s keep fighting. Let’s keep fighting.” If they had to go to Walter Reed — where they do unbelievable work. I have to tell you, these doctors are unbelievable. You know, it’s easy to say, “Oh, they’re not the…” They’re the best in the world. I’ve never seen anything like it.
One young man, last week, had his nose rebuilt. And they said it was in a thousand pieces. And, I said, “So where were you hurt?” He said, “My face, sir, was almost obliterated.” I said, “You have a better face than I do.” (Laughter.) And he said, “Sir, I had a doctor who was unbelievable, and they put it together.” They said — he said “a thousand fragments.” Now, I don’t if that’s even possible. But a thousand fragments. And they put it together.
And his father, who was crying, came up to me and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but my son didn’t have a great-looking nose and now his nose is better.” (Laughter.) Okay? It’s an amazing thing.
But when you see these — and the Purple Hearts — you see this kind of thing — and I see a lot of it at Walter Reed. And, again, the job those doctors and the people do at Walter Reed, it’s something to be commended.
Thank you all very much. Thank you.