Slain Marine's dad says there's 'no way' Trump didn't know about Russia's bounties on US troops in Afghanistan

Slain Marine's dad says there's 'no way' Trump didn't know about Russia's bounties on US troops in Afghanistan
Donald Trump, US troops in Afghanistan (Getty Images)

The Russian plot to pay the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan and President Donald Trump’s alleged inaction on the issue seems to be affecting his support base now. An aggrieved father of a young Marine who was killed in a roadside car bomb attack in the war-ravaged country last year has spoken out against the commander-in-chief saying there was "no way" the latter had no knowledge about Moscow’s evil design against US soldiers. And the father reminded that he is saying this despite being a supporter of the president.

Eric Hendriks, the father of Cpl Robert A Hendriks, 25, who died in April 2019, sought an explanation about the circumstances under which the former met his end and called out Trump for failing to protect America's troops. "I am a Republican and I am a Trump supporter. But there would be no way he didn’t know about it if Russians were paying off these cowards like mafia pay off hit men. I would expect the government to have 1,000 percent support behind these warriors," Hendriks, who does not usually vote, was quoted as saying by The New York Times.

Hendriks was never against the US mission in Afghanistan and agreed with former defense secretary Jim Mattis, a former Marine general, who spoke in favor of the mission time and again. "Thank God these warriors were there," Hendriks said. "I really do believe if they were not there, the enemy would be here. I know my son supported it." Hendriks also said his ex-wife Felicia Arculeo, the mother of Cpl Hendriks, was "living a nightmare".

Robert was killed along with two other Marines — Staff Sgt Christopher K A  Slutman, 43, and Sgt Benjamin S Hines, 31 — when their armored vehicle was hit by an explosive-filled vehicle near Bagram Air Base, located about 20 miles north of Kabul. Cpl Hendriks was working for the Second Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve infantry battalion based in Garden City, NY. It was Robert's first deployment to Afghanistan where he was serving with his brother Joseph, who escorted his body back home. 

Speaking in a telephonic interview from his residence in Glen Cove, New York, Hendriks said, "You would think they would have had the best intelligence and the best backing over there." He added that if it was confirmed that either the current or the previous administration had the information but yet no step was taken, the little faith he has in the government would also end.

Political blame game over Russian bounty plot

On June 29, Indiana Congressman Jim Banks tweeted after the White House briefed some Congress lawmakers about the Afghanistan report suggesting that the same thing had happened in times of former president Barack Obama as well. 

Freeman Robbins, whose son Elliott — an army sergeant first class — also died in Afghanistan exactly a year ago, told the NYT about the reports on the Russian bounties: "The facts that I see do not prove 100 percent one way or another. We don’t know that this happened. I don’t put it past the intelligence agencies of other countries to do things like this." He said the liberal groups were leveraging a tragedy for political benefits. 

The Trump administration has defended itself while facing flak saying it was never briefed on the matter and that the intelligence community itself was divided over the authenticity of the information. Sources close to the issue, however, claimed the opposite.


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