The story of Frankie:
As much as I enjoyed mocking the hell out of the experts in the political press, I really liked writing in "Trump the Press" about him. His assurance to the terminally ill beauty queen he crowned years ago that he will take care of her son. The farm in Georgia he saved. The high school buddy who became a world-class lawyer in his own right.
Deirdre Reilly's interview with Craig Gross today topped all that.
In the midst of his campaign and about to address thousands of people in Jacksonville, Trump met with some Gold Star fathers. This meeting had been arranged by his campaign. A traffic collision up the road delayed their 5 p.m. arrival to 6:20 p.m. Trump's speech was set for 7 p.m. They met anyway and Trump was way late for the speech.
Quotes from Gross:
“He wanted to hear our sons’ stories, and more than that, he wanted to hear what our sons were like as people. He was very engaging. He teared up a couple times, too. He’s an even better listener than he is a talker. The man is a very good listener.”
“He has said some dumb things, I will say that – he isn’t perfect. But you know what? At the end of the day, you can tell that the man is very, very empathetic. He is both very cordial and very understanding — really just a great guy.”And.
"It was really special, telling Donald Trump about my son. Once I started saying 'Frankie,' Donald Trump started using his name, too. He said to me, 'Please — tell me about Frankie'."Gross did.
After his son died in Afghanistan on July 16, 2011, Gross quit Cisco Food Corporation after more than twenty years and opened a restaurant.
Frankie's Patriot Barbeque.
Gross told Reilly: "I think of him when I fish. Every time I pick up a gun and go shooting, I think about Frankie. The first thing I do at 5 a.m. when I walk into the restaurant alone is to say the Pledge of Allegiance with Captain Matt Bruce on WGUL radio, and then I salute Frankie's picture. I'll never miss a day of saluting my son for his service and his sacrifice."
So who was Frank R. Gross?
David DeCamp of the Tampa Bay Times wrote a fine obituary on July 18, 2011:
He knocked a home run at the Baseball Hall of Fame before he was a teenager.
He left that pursuit in college to follow another dream, earning degrees to become a Web designer and artist in the business world.
He died Saturday amid another one — as a soldier for his country less than a month after he was deployed.The obituary ended with a story about Frankie playing baseball at 12.
In 1998, he hit a home run at Dreams Park, the ballfield at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., as part of a Florida team playing there for a week.
"We lived, ate and drank baseball," he wrote in an account then for the St. Petersburg Times.
Home-schooled until the eighth grade, Gross became a pitcher at Indian Rocks Christian High, his mother said. It got him a scholarship to play at Trinity International University in Illinois.
But he decided his chances at Major League Baseball were slim, so Gross ultimately tapped his artistic side at Full Sail, his mother said. He received bachelor's and master's degrees there to begin his business pursuit, receiving perfect attendance honors. He celebrated by skydiving in California.
"This young man, he lived life," his mother said. "He really lived life."America lost a good man in Kasay Kalay, Afghanistan, on July 16, 2011.
This was one of two wars Hillary Clinton advocated as a senator, and abandoned as Secretary of State.
Gross and tens of millions of Americans have pinned their hopes on one man, Donald John Trump. It is up to him to stop her. He must do more than listen to Frankie's father.
Trump needs to win.
Romneying the meeting with the Gold Star fathers won't help. Trump must be shameless in campaigning. If he has to walk over his grandmother to win, so be it. The stakes are too high to be another lame Republican candidate.
It's up to him.
My new book, "Trump the Press," is a fun read that details how the experts missed the rise of Trump. Read the reviews in the right column.
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Autographed copies area available. Email me at DonSurber@GMail.com for details. Also email me if you have suggestions for a sequel.