Trump suggests Obama didn't call families of fallen soldiers as president

Trump silent as questions remain over deadly Niger ambush

Trump was clearly not prepared to take the question, as it became soon apparent by his response.

"And a lot of presidents don't, they write letters.I do a combination of both. Other, other presidents did not call, they'd write letters and some presidents didn't do anything", he added.

He also claimed his predecessors hadn't written or called the families of slain American troops during their tenures, though the tradition of presidents reaching out after U.S. servicemen are killed in action is long-established. He also said of Obama and other previous presidents that "a lot of them didn't make calls", an assertion that former Obama aides forcefully denied.

Members of the Obama administration were quick to say that Obama did call the families of soldiers killed during his time in office, referred to as Gold Star families.

Later, Trump backtracked on the claim slightly, saying "I was told that he didn't often".

For almost two weeks many have been wondering why Trump has made no mention of the four soldiers killed in action in Niger.

Former officials from the Obama White House quickly emphasized that Trump's statement was not true and Obama routinely called families of soldiers killed in the field.

Pressed later in the news conference, Trump admitted he didn't know what Obama's practice was in regard to the families of fallen soldiers.

"When American heroes make the ultimate sacrifice, Presidents pay their respects", she continued.

Trump's comments touched off a firestorm on social media, including from Alyssa Mastromonaco‏, a former Obama staffer, who responded with an expletive. "I think about this every time I approve an operation as president", he said in a May 2016 ceremony at Arlington. "President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn't, I don't know, that's what I was told". "From what I am hearing it's the first time that a sitting president has done something like this".

Trump was asked how he could back up his statement that President Obama didn't call, and offered further remarks on his process.

"The President wasn't criticizing predecessors, but stating a fact", Sanders said in an email to TPM. I don't know, that's what I was told. "I do a combination of both". This time, though, he was challenged to defend his claim by NBC reporter Peter Alexander. "All I can do is ask my generals".

Fun! Also, bonus points to the Washington Post's Philip Bump for noticing the secondary incoherence of Trump's varying statetements about his letters to the bereaved families, which he varyingly claims "were sent", "are going out over the weekend", and "will be going out either today or tomorrow".

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