Brother of fallen Marine says Trump never reached out
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — President Donald Trump never called or sent a letter to the family of a Marine who was killed in the crash of an Osprey aircraft off Australia’s coast, the victim’s brother said.
Capt. Ben Cross, a Marine pilot from Bethel, Maine, was one of three Marines killed in the crash in August. Hundreds attended his funeral more than a month later at Telstar High School.
His older brother, Army veteran Ryan Cross, said Thursday that it’s upsetting to see the president politicizing fallen military service members. He also said the president’s “actions speak louder than words” when it comes to reaching out to those Gold Star families.
“If you really do care about Gold Star families and care about sending your condolences, then just do it. You don’t need to tell people that you’re doing it. You need to do it,” Cross said.
There has been only one combat death involving a Mainer since Trump took office.
The family of a Navy SEAL, Senior Chief Petty Officer Kyle Milliken, declined to comment on Trump’s remarks and asked for continued privacy. Kyle Milliken, a University of Connecticut track star who grew up in Falmouth, died in an operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Trump said this week that he reaches out to families of the fallen either by phone call, letter, or both, and suggested he did more to honor the families than his predecessors.
Ryan Cross, whose views were first reported by the Portland Press Herald, said that the president is under no obligation to reach out to Gold Star families but that if he’s going to claim to have reached out, then he should be following through.
“What’s most upsetting to me is just how he portrays himself as a champion for the armed forces, but when it comes to actually supporting the troops, I feel like it’s all talk and no action,” Cross told The Associated Press.