President Donald Trump took time out of his busy schedule on Tuesday put in a personal call to one of his biggest fans who only has months to live. The heartwarming surprise came about thanks to a social media campaign started by the Connecticut man's sister who is an elected Democrat official.
Sister Crosses Party Lines to Help Terminally-Ill Brother Meet Donald Trump
While the politics of the United States may have been some of the most partisan ever witnessed since President Trump came to office just over two years ago, a temporary ceasefire was called this week when the two sides came together to make a dying man's dream come true.
Jay Barrett, 44, of West Haven, Connecticut has cystic fibrosis and left the hospital last weekend to begin palliative care at his sister's home. Jay knows the prognosis is not bright, and so he asked his sister if she could make something special happen for him. Specifically, he told her that his dying wish was to speak to his political hero, Donald Trump.
Jay's sister is West Haven City Councilwoman Bridgette Hoskie, a self-avowed "100 percent Democrat," but she wasted little time in trying to make her older brother's wish come true.
A social media frenzy was soon whipped up once Bridgette made their plan public. Friends and other supporters got in contact with the White House via email and its online petition system. And on Tuesday, Jay's dream was made a reality.
Trump Tells Dying Supporter: 'You're a Champ'
Thanks to his sister's efforts, an ecstatic Jay had the opportunity to speak with Donald Trump by phone. Jay's colorful response got a chuckle from the president, who went on to speak warmly with one of his biggest supporters:
"How are you doing? How is it going Jay? ... You’re a champ. You’re fighting it right?"
Jay might be the one with the greatest fight on his hands, but he also had had some strong, reassuring words of support for the president as their friendly chat went on:
"Mr. President, through thick and thin, you know there’s been a lot of thicks, and there’s been a lot of thins, I support you."
Heartwarming Story Gives Rare Glimpse at Human Side of U.S. Politics
Jay is down - but most certainly not out. The conversation with President Trump clearly lifted his spirits, and the president promised him that he would have a front-and-center place whenever one of his famous rallies headed into Jay's neck of the woods:
"I wish you could come to a rally. I wish you could come. I know you like that stuff and I wish you could. ... It sounds like you have a great sister, Jay."
Barrett also promised the president that he would make it down to the White House "between now and my expiration date."
President Trump ended their call with a typically upbeat message for Jay - one that resonated for them both:
"You're my kind of man, Jay. ... I'm very proud of you. I'll talk to you again, Jay, OK? You keep that fight going. We both fight."
In such conflictive times, Jay's story shines a light on the more human side of politics and how tragedy can bring people together no matter what their political beliefs.
Jay told the New Haven Register that he also received calls of support from Eric Trump and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regional chief Lynne Patton on Monday.
Eric Trump told Jay that he was "pulling and praying" for him, and Ms. Patton, who is also from New Haven, has said that she will personally visit with Jay to give him a signed gift from President Trump.
Barrett Hopes to Vote for Trump in 2020
Jay Barrett is now one of President Trump's biggest fans, but for most of his life, he considered himself an independent and even voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
His feelings changed with the arrival of President Trump onto the political stage. The president's style blew Jay away, and he is also now a big fan of his policies.
Jay has been told that he only has six months to live, but he intends to fight the good fight so that he can be around to vote for President Trump once again in 2020.