Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has yet to personally call and offer condolences to the family of Spc. Vanessa Guillén, a 20-year-old soldier murdered in April at Fort Hood, the family’s lawyer told Breitbart News on Wednesday.
“The Secretary of the Army has not even called this family, and it’s been well over three months since Vanessa went missing,” said the family’s attorney Natalie Khawam.
Meanwhile, she said, “The President of the United States of America found the time in his very busy schedule to not only call the Guillén family but also invited this beautiful family to his home. He was hospitable with us, very generous with his time, compassionate and empathetic with the family and me in the Oval Office of the White House.”
She added that McCarthy has scheduled a press conference for Thursday with media at Fort Hood, Texas, but has not even contacted the Guillén family to let them know it was happening. The press conference is “to discuss the Army’s efforts to address the recent events at Fort Hood,” according to a press release.
“President Trump even found time to meet and speak with this family and yet McCarthy is still doing press conferences without a single call to this poor family whose daughter they sent to serve in his Army,” Khawam added.
Guillén’s family, along with Khawam, met with Trump in the Oval Office on Thursday. Trump said he would help her family with funeral expenses and directed the Justice Department and the FBI to investigate what happened to Guillen.
Guillén’s murder has become a rallying cry for women veterans and service members who have faced sexual assault and harassment in their military careers. Guillén told her family before she went missing that she had been sexually harassed by fellow soldiers, including by Spc. Aaron David Robinson, 20, who had allegedly walked in on Guillen while she was showering in a locker room and watched.
She was reported missing in April but her remains were not found until July.
After police issued a “Be On the Lookout” (BOLO) alert for Robinson in July, Robinson fled and killed himself as police approached. Police arrested his girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, who told police that Robinson had killed Guillén with a hammer in an armory room on base and enlisted her help to bury her body in April.
McCarthy first tweeted about Guillén in late June — two months after her disappearance, and after Guillén’s murder began gathering national awareness.
HELP US FIND VANESSA GUILLENhttps://t.co/hbCWZzZ8RS
We are doing everything in our power to get her back and will not stop until we do. pic.twitter.com/mWwjiJx4ly
— SecArmy (@SecArmy) June 29, 2020
After the Army found her remains and confirmed her death on July 6, McCarthy still did not call Guillén’s family, but tweeted that his “thoughts and prayers” were with them.
My thoughts and prayers are with Vanessa’s family and all of her loved ones, and our focus is turned to supporting her family and honoring her legacy.
— SecArmy (@SecArmy) July 6, 2020
McCarthy on July 10 announced after meeting with Democrat Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX) and the activist group League of United Latin American Citizens that he has directed an “independent, comprehensive review of the command climate and culture at Fort Hood, as well as the surrounding military community.”
The family has called repeatedly for a congressional investigation, not an Army-directed investigation, however.
Lupe Guillén, 16, slammed McCarthy at a press conference last week for not inviting her to the July 10 meeting.
“We keep demanding a congressional investigation! Where is it? Secretary of the Army — where is it?” she said. “I wasn’t there, they didn’t tell me! You know how frustrating it was for me to not be there? Because I’m family! No one else is family for Vanessa! I’m her family! I need to know every single step of this issue! Every single step!”
“Instead of Governor [of Texas Greg] Abbott, instead of the secretary of the Army, it is the president who is talking to me. I am not nervous to talk with him because this needs to stop,” she said.
Lupe Guillen, the sister of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, said she has not heard from Governor Abbott or the Secretary of the Army following the death of her sister. She says she has only heard from President Trump.#JusticeForVanessaGuillen pic.twitter.com/rEr9XFA2mB
— 25NewsKXXV (@25NewsKXXV) July 30, 2020
A spokesperson for McCarthy confirmed to Breitbart News that he had not contacted the family:
“Yes that’s correct. Although — he has always been open to meet with the Guillén family. The Chief of Staff of the Army recently met with the Guillén family.”
Khawam said she contacted McCarthy’s office in June, but has not received a call back yet.
“I’m troubled by his lack of compassion to the family and sincerity about meeting with the family,” she said.