Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
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.
Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."
"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.
"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."
Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.
Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.
No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.
With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.
Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.
And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.
But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.
As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.
That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.
The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.
Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.