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18 October 2017, 12:42 | Colleen Roy
Trump falsely suggests Obama didn't call families of slain troops and then backs off claim
Trying to save face as reporters questioned him on why he had not publicly commented on the deadly ambush of four US soldiers in Niger earlier this month, President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Monday that former President Barack Obama didn't call the families of fallen service members.
"The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, majority didn't make calls, a lot of them didn't make calls", Trump said in response to a question about four Green Berets who were killed in Niger earlier this month. Then he pivoted to his predecessors.
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace hosted a round table discussion today where she and her fellow panelists tore President Trump apart for saying Barack Obamanever called to offer sympathy to gold star families. Every time you think you can't go lower, I want to cry.
Alyssa Mastromonaco, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Mr Obama, said Mr Trump's claim was a "f***ing lie".
"President Trump's claim is unequivocally wrong", the official said.
Ghazala and Khizr Khan, the parents of fallen Muslim American soldier Humayun Khan, speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
President Obama breaks record for pardons during his tenure in the White House. No", Trump said. "I was told that he didn't often, and a lot of presidents don't. "He saw it as his duty to console them as best he could and thank them on behalf of the nation".
An aide to Clinton told ABC News that he did call the families of fallen soldiers.
Representatives of former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter either did not immediately respond to a request for comment or did not have an immediate reaction.
In the first year of Obama's term, 466 American troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan, compared to 25 this year. Seventeen sailors were killed in accidents involving two Navy warships, the USS John S. McCain and the USS Fitzgerald. La David T. Johnson who was part of a joint USA and Nigerian train, advise and assist mission.Sgt. Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, died October 4, 2017 in southwest Niger as a result. The body of a fourth USA soldier was recovered later.
She argued that presidents didn't always call families of those killed in battle: "Sometimes they call, sometimes they send a letter, other times they have the opportunity to meet family members in person". He said he also planned to call them. "That is smear and slander, the likes of which I haven't heard since... maybe yesterday, but it's appalling he said that". "The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens". "It's a very hard thing". "It gets to a point where you make four to five of them in one day, it is a very, very tough day". The White House press secretary said previously the administration was still reviewing the circumstances around the mission. He was speaking 12 days after the ambush - the deadliest combat incident since he took office.
On Monday, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, joined a growing chorus calling for a review of the circumstances leading to the ambush.
- Eric Holder (@EricHolder) October 17, 2017Trump made the claim earlier in the day during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden. General Marty Dempsey said both Presidents Bush and Obama as well as the First Ladies "cared deeply and worked tirelessly" for soldiers. "A lot of them didn't make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate, when I think I'm able to do it".
"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.
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