US & Canada

Trump calls dying man to fulfil final wish

Jay Barrett with his sister Democratic City Councilwoman Bridgette Hoskie Image copyright Bridgette Hoskie
Image caption Jay Barrett with his sister Democratic City Councilwoman Bridgette Hoskie

A terminally ill man in Connecticut has received his dying wish of speaking to US President Donald Trump in a surprise phone call.

The call to Jay Barrett, who has cystic fibrosis and was recently moved to home hospice care, was arranged by his big sister - a local Democratic lawmaker.

"You're my kind of man, Jay," Mr Trump said in the call. "You keep that fight going. We both fight," he said.

The president's son, Eric, has also promised to send him a special gift.

The call was first reported by the New Haven Register in Connecticut, which has been reporting on the bipartisan effort to connect him to the White House.

"My brother is very conservative, but politics aside, I think in a family, religion and politics are off the table," said his sister, First District City Councilwoman Bridgette Hoskie, who assured the newspaper that she is "100% Democrat".

Mr Trump began the call by telling the 44-year-old patient he had just seen a picture of him and he looked "handsome".

Mr Barrett laughed off the "kind honours" before using an expletive to describe his opinion of his own appearance.

The president told him: "You're a champ. You're fighting it, right?"

"That's what the Irish do, right?" Mr Barrett replied.

"Yeah that's what the Irish do - you better believe it," the president said, adding that he wished Mr Barrett could come to a rally and complimenting his "great" sister.

"I plan on coming down to DC before my expiration date," Mr Barrett told Mr Trump.

Mr Barrett said he is an independent voter who helped elect Barack Obama in 2008, but did not support him in 2012 because of his opposition to the former Democratic president's healthcare policy, the New Haven Register reported.

He told the newspaper he fell in love with Mr Trump's campaign immediately after its launch, and believed that Democrats are always reflexively trying to counter anything he says - right or wrong.

"If Trump came out and said, 'Oxygen is good,' they'd come out and say it's bad," Mr Barrett said.

Doctors say Mr Barrett has just six months to live but he is hoping to still be around in 2020.

"I told him, 'I plan on voting for you in 2020, God permitting,'" Mr Barrett told the Register.

But some dying Americans are hanging on in hopes of another outcome for Mr Trump.

On Tuesday, NPR reported on two different World War Two veterans who have said in their final moments they wanted to see the outcome of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia before they die.

"I was hoping to live to see the outcome of what I think it should be - justice. I'll be surprised and disappointed if it isn't," said 94-year-old Richard Armstrong.

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