White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley chided grieving parents in defense of President Donald Trump, suggesting on Thursday morning that the family of Harry Dunn was lying when they said the president “ambushed” them and tried to pressure them into meeting the woman who killed their son.
In an interview Thursday morning on CNN, the Dunn family said they felt Trump was trying to “intimidate” them into meeting the wife of a U.S. diplomat who killed Dunn in an auto accident in the United Kingdom. A family spokesman further stated that during the Dunns’ White House visit, the president’s aides acted as “henchmen” and were “snarling” at the family.
Appearing on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Gidley was asked about the parents’ description of Trump’s visit with the parents and whether he could explain why they felt the president ambushed them.
“I have spoken with the president directly about this,” the White House spokesman replied. “It is a horrific situation. He offered his condolences to the family and understands the gravity of this moment and the situation. He did this simply on the behest of [British Prime Minister] Boris Johnson to meet with that family. He wasn’t trying to ambush anybody.”
Fox News anchor Sandra Smith then wondered aloud if the president exerted pressure on the family to meet with the diplomat’s wife at the White House.
“Absolutely not,” Gildey declared. “He was wonderful in that setting.”
Co-anchor Bill Hemmer and Smith, meanwhile, noted that the Dunn family called the president’s advisors “henchmen” and said the scene was terrifying.
“Again, that’s their description,” the White House flack responded. “I didn’t get any of that when I talked to the president about the situation. He was the one calming everybody down.”
After saying that the president was just offering condolences, Gidley appeared to be ready to bash the family, adding that it is “sad that people come out” to say these things before stopping himself short.
“Look, they are entitled to their own opinion about the matter,” he concluded. “But the president didn’t pressure anybody. He doesn’t do that in those situations. He is a father. He is a grandfather. He understands this type of sadness.”