Sean Hannity and NFL commissioner among top donors to slain soldier's scholarship fund
By DOUGLAS HANKS | The Miami Herald (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 24, 2017
Fox News host Sean Hannity and National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell are donors to scholarships for the children of Sgt. La David Johnson, the soldier from Miami Gardens killed in Niger on Oct. 4.
Hannity donated $14,000 to the GoFundMe page established by Johnson’s widow, making the television star the top individual donor so far. The charity arm of the Miami Dolphins is the top donor, with a $30,000 gift to a scholarship fund benefiting the family of a solider who hailed from the team’s home city. The No. 3 donor is Hala Mnaymneh, a Coral Gables resident who is a frequent donor to Democratic candidates. Mnaymneh donated $10,000.
Goodell and his wife, Jane, donated $7,500. Bill Prady, one of the creators of the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” gave $5,000, landing him on the No. 5 spot, along with three donors marked anonymous and Harry Edwards, a social activist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
After being created by Myeshia Johnson on Oct. 16, the GoFundMe page has raised nearly $700,000. The fund is advertised as providing college scholarships for the Johnson children. The couple have a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old, and Myeshia is pregnant with their third child.
Johnson’s death sparked a political firestorm when a Democratic congresswoman from the Miami Gardens area, Rep. Frederica Wilson, and the White House feuded over whether President Donald Trump was respectful during a condolence call to his widow.
Trump dismissed Wilson’s description of the call as “totally fabricated,” and on Monday contradicted claims by both Wilson and Myseshia herself that the president did not seem to know Johnson’s name throughout the call.
The top donors to the Johnson Go Fund Me page overlap with some of the political friction of the Trump presidency.
Hannity, who announced his donation on his Fox show, accused Wilson of exploiting Johnson’s death when she shared her account of the condolence call. Trump has excoriated the NFL for allowing players to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of alleged police misconduct toward black people. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was one of the first owners to criticize Trump’s comments, but later said he wants players to “stand and salute the flag.” Prady and Edwards have both been critical of Trump’s response to Wilson and Johnson’s widow.
Johnson, a 25-year-old Army sergeant, was one of four soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger. The other three were Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 39, of Springsboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29, of Lyons, Ga.
GoFundMe, which allows anyone to solicit donations for a chosen cause, lists fundraising pages for Black and Wright. The Black page says funds will support Black’s two sons, ages 9 and 11 and has raised about $8,000. The Wright page says it benefits Fisher House, a charity that provides housing for military families during a loved one’s hospitalization, and the Green Beret Foundation. It has raised nearly $39,000.
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