Pat Tillman’s Widow to President Trump: Don’t ‘Politicize’ My Husband’s Service

AP Mark J Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Retweets can be meant as endorsements, or they could just be the mere sharng of information. However, if you’re the president and you retweet an account arguing for an NFL boycott, which also happens to mention Pat Tillman’s name, it’s trouble.

On Monday, President Trump retweeted an account that argued for an NFL boycott. The account also happened to use the face and name of Pat Tillman, a former NFL player who left the league to join the military and fight terrorists. Tillman was killed by friendly-fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

The president’s retweet, however, did not sit well with Pat Tillman’s widow, Marie Tillman.

Marie Tillman released a statement to CNN on Monday night: “As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify It is my hope that his memory should always remind people that we must come together. Pat’s service, along with that of every man and woman’s service, should never be politicized in a way that divides us. We are too great of a country for that.

“Those that serve fight for the American ideals of freedom, justice and democracy. They and their families know the cost of that fight. I know the very personal costs in a way I feel acutely every day. The very action of self expression and the freedom to speak from one’s heart — no matter those views — is what Pat and so many other Americans have given their lives for. Even if they didn’t always agree with those views.

“It is my sincere hope that our leaders both understand and learn from the lessons of Pat’s life and death, and also those of so many other brave Americans.”

While anyone could understand a widow not wanting her husband’s memory to be used for some kind of political gain, it’s not clear that political gain is what Trump had in mind here. As mentioned earlier, sometimes retweets are endorsements. Yet, when you’re not endorsing everything a person has on their Twitter page every time you do it. It’s entirely possible that Trump retweeted the user without Tillman’s image or name having anything to do with it.

It’s also important to note that Marie Tillman has been harshly critical of President Trump in the past. In January, Tillman lashed out at Trump’s immigration executive order. Tillman said, in part, “Today I am deeply saddened by the news of the executive order banning immigration. This is not the country he dreamed of, not what he served for and not what he died for. ”

Pat Tillman gave up a lucrative contract with the Arizona Cardinals, to join the military. Eventually becoming an Army Ranger before going to Afghanistan and being killed in a friendly-fire accident.

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