Trump offered to pay for the funeral but was informed the military would be covering the cost.
In an emotional meeting for the family of soldier Vanessa Guillén, her mother, Gloria Guilén told President Trump that they would be declining a military funeral service.
The meeting between Trump and the Guillén family at the White House was the culmination of a day of events in D.C. to honor the murdered soldier. Supporters, including Rep. Sylvia García, marched from the Capitol to the White House to remember Guillén and to support the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill in Congress. The bill would allow military service members to file harassment and assault claims to a third-party agency instead of their chain of command.
The conversation was emotional for Vanessa’s sister Guadalupe, as she told Trump that Vanessa is now a part of history. “Her life was taken away in the most disgusting way anyone could take a human’s life,” Guadalupe Guillén said through a translator. “She wanted to be a mother.”
Trump offered to pay for the funeral service, saying, “I’ll help you out. Financially, I’ll help you.”
Natalie Khawam, the Guillén’s family attorney, responded to Trump by saying, “I think the military will be paying — taking care of it.”
Trump said, “Good. They’ll do a military. That’s good. If you need help, I’ll help you out.”
Later in the conversation, the President asked, “Are you using the military for the funeral, though? Or is it — is it going to be…”
Vanessa’s sister, Mayra Guillén, said, “We actually declined because my mom didn’t want a military casket and stuff like that. Vanessa is very unique, so we wanted something unique for her. So far, a lot of people have been helping us, but it has been a rough three months.”
The president said, “Okay, well, you let us know.”
To Trump’s surprise, Vanessa’s family explained to him why they hadn’t held a funeral for her yet. The president acknowledged that he had heard about Vanessa’s story “quite a while ago.”
“And — because you don’t have the body yet?” Trump asked.
Khawam told him that officials still had Vanessa’s remains. He then asked them when they would like to have the funeral, and her sister said, “As soon as possible.”
While there’s no date for the funeral as of now, the family said the services would take place in Houston, Texas.
The President ended the meeting by saying, “I want to thank you all for being here. It’s a lot of courage actually. It takes a lot of courage. And your daughter is very respected. And she’s respected by me, and you’re in the Oval Office. Your daughter would be very proud of you right now. She’s looking down. She’ll be very proud of you. So — and your sister. So we will get to the bottom of a lot of this, and maybe all of it. Okay?”