Trump's claim that Obama 'didn't make calls' to families of the fallen
- Author: Megan Austin Oct 18, 2017,
Oct 18, 2017, 0:42
After the interview, a current White House official told NPR that Obama did not call Kelly after his son was killed in action.
President Donald Trump's suggestion that his predecessors failed to meet families of military personnel killed in war has brought a visceral reaction from those who witnessed the grieving encounters.
The comment came in response to a question from a reporter who asked why the president hadn't spoken publicly regarding the deadly October 4 attack in Niger that left four Green Berets dead following an ambush.
"For the most part, to the best of my knowledge, I think I've called every family of somebody that's died, and it's the hardest call to make, and I said it very loud and clear yesterday".
"I don't know if he did".
The president's claim has sparked outrage among Mr Obama's former aides.
Trump has so many flaws, and there are so many reasons he's ill-suited to the presidency and ill-equipped for its responsibilities, but sometimes, I simply wish he weren't such a small man in a big office.
Sharon Belkofer, a Gold Star mother whose son died in 2010 in Afghanistan, told the Democratic National Convention in 2016 that she met Obama at Ft.
"I don't know if he did", he said of Mr Obama.
Trump, a Republican who as president serves as commander-in-chief of the US military, then appeared to criticize his predecessors handling of the issue of American soldiers' deaths.
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Obama's former White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that Obama would repeatedly "show his enormous respect. for those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country" through various visits and meetings as well as phonecalls and letters. I don't know what (George W.) Bush did.
While he did not explain why he had not called their families, Trump said he had written letters to the family members over the weekend, which he said would be mailed later in the day or on Tuesday.
Obama's former aides were quick to lash back.
Multiple White House officials have told CNN that Obama did not call Kelly when his son was killed.
"This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards", Benjamin J. Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser to Obama, posted on Twitter. "I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter".
In May 2011, the Obama White House did host a breakfast for Gold Star families, families who lost a loved one serving in the military.
"I will, at some point during the period of time, call the parents and the families - because I have done that, traditionally", he added.
"It's been the furthest thing from my mind and the minds of my family", said Will Wright, the brother of Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, adding he bore no ill-will toward Trump. "I was told he didn't often, and a lot of presidents don't".
Gen Kelly has yet to comment on the president's latest remarks. Trump's comments were misleading and inaccurate, and when he was pressed about them later in the news conference, he tried to backtrack.