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Trump’s Claim That Most Presidents Don’t Call The Families Of Fallen Troops Is Untrue
While addressing the press at the White House Rose Garden on Oct. 16, President Trump inaccurately claimed that he is one of the few commanders-in-chief who calls the families of fallen service members to offer condolences.
“The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls,” Trump said. “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.”
Trump claims that Obama and “most” other presidents “didn’t make calls” to families of fallen American soldiers. pic.twitter.com/TQJtkbyc1s
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) October 16, 2017
When pressed by reporters, Trump quickly walked back his claim.
“I was told he didn't often and a lot of Presidents don't,” Trump said. “They write letters … I do a combination of both. Sometimes it's a very difficult thing to do, but I do a combination of both. President Obama I think probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn't. I don't know. That's what I was told.”
Pressed on this claim, Trump says: "I don't know if he did... I was told that he didn't often. A lot of presidents don't." pic.twitter.com/0f2bUxsaF2
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) October 16, 2017
Trump’s claim was in response to questions about his silence following an Oct. 4 daylight ambush in a rugged border region of Niger that left four U.S. Army soldiers killed — the deadliest single attack on U.S. combat troops since Trump took office, according to New York Daily News.
In response to a growing chorus of questions at the press conference, Trump added that he was “going to call” the parents and families of the fallen soldiers, and that he wrote “personal letters” that had been sent, or would be sent.
“The toughest calls I have to make, are the calls where this happens — soldiers are killed,” Trump said. “It’s a very difficult thing. It gets to a point where you make four or five in a day, and that’s a very very tough day.”
12 days after it was announced soldiers were killed in Niger, Trump says "I will at some point during the period of time call the parents." pic.twitter.com/vPh85JNF4x
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 16, 2017
Trump’s suggestion that his predecessors rarely called the families of the fallen, quickly drew the ire of many on social media, including Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former White House deputy chief of staff in the Obama administration.
that's a fucking lie. to say president obama (or past presidents) didn't call the family members of soldiers KIA - he's a deranged animal.
— Alyssa Mastromonaco (@AlyssaMastro44) October 16, 2017
In addition to making phone calls, and writing letters, Trump’s most immediate predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, frequently met with families of fallen troops to offer their condolences.
While in office, and between numerous trips to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Obama made two high-profile visits to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to witness dignified transfers — the arrival of fallen troops — rendering respects to 15 fallen service members in 2009, according to the New York Daily News. Obama returned two years later to meet with 250 relatives of 30 service members killed in Afghanistan when their helicopter was shot down.
President Bush, for his part, wrote thousands of letters, made calls, and met with more than 500 families of servicemen and women killed in action, often privately, according to a December 2008 report by the Washington Times. And those face-to-face meetings with parents mourning the loss of a child were rarely easy.
In August 2005, President George Bush was approached by Cindy Sheehan, a gold star mother, at the president’s Prairie Chapel Ranch, near Crawford, Texas. There, Sheehan demanded an explanation for the death of her son, Casey, telling members of Veterans for Peace that she intended to ask the president: "I'm gonna say, ‘And you tell me, what the noble cause is that my son died for.’ And if he even starts to say freedom and democracy I'm gonna say, bullshit. You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich.”
Rather than push back, as Trump did to gold star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan after the pair levied criticisms at the then-nominee in July 2016, Bush accepted Sheehan’s comments, holding an impromptu press conference afterward saying “I grieve for every death,” Bush said. “It breaks my heart to think about a family weeping over the loss of a loved one.”
Given Trump’s propensity for social media — and his recent silence on there, too — even a tweet would do.
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The move, days after President Donald Trump canceled a planned meeting with Taliban leaders at his Camp David retreat, came as the movement looks to bolster regional support, with visits also planned for China, Iran and Central Asian states.
We salute the foul-mouthed Navy vet remembered as 'the most inappropriate guy with the biggest heart'
Per his final demands, Joe Heller was laid in his casket Thursday in a T-shirt featuring the Disney dwarf Grumpy and the middle finger of his right hand extended. He also told his daughters to make sure and place a remote control fart machine in the coffin with him.
"My father always wanted the last laugh," daughter Monique Heller said.
The Essex volunteer firefighter and self-described local "dawg kecher" died on Sept. 8 at age 82, and the off-color obituary written by his youngest daughter has become a nationwide sensation — a lead item on cable news sites, a top story on The Courant's website and a post shared far and wide on social media.
Laced with bawdy humor, the irreverent but loving obit captured Heller's highly inappropriate nature and his golden heart, friends who filled the fire station for a celebration of his life on Thursday evening said.
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William Patrick Williams faces federal charges for reportedly lying on an application to buy the semiautomatic rifle he planned to use in a shooting, according to a federal indictment filed Aug. 14.
He is charged with a federal felony count of making a false material statement during the purchase of a firearm on July 11, a day before he planned to lure people out of a hotel and shoot them. The charge carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.
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