It was what Trump said later in the day to the White House press pool, though, that has drawn widespread criticism. "I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well," Trump said, according to reports. "She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific -- Aretha Franklin -- on her passing. She brought joy to million of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come."
While Trump's praise for the "Natural Woman" singer was effusive and he offered sympathy to Franklin's family, it was that one phrase, "she worked for me," that raised a number of eyebrows.
As noted by the Press of Atlantic City, it's possible Trump was referring to Franklin performing at his then-named Trump Castle casino in Atlantic City in 1988 and the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in the 1990s. The singer also reportedly performed at a private event hosted by Trump to celebrate the opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York in 1997.
Even so, that loaded phrase, "worked for me," elicited a number of angry comments about the president's seemingly tone-deaf response to the beloved singer's death.