President Donald Trump on Monday accused former presidents, including Barack Obama, of rarely contacting the families of fallen soldiers after their deaths.
Trump’s controversial accusation came from the Rose Garden of the White House, and he was standing alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The president was asked about the deaths of four Green Berets in Niger about two weeks ago, and why he hasn’t spoken publicly about them or contacted their families.
“The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed,” Trump said. “It’s a very difficult thing. Now, it gets to a point where you make four or five of them in one day, it’s a very, very tough day.”
Trump claimed that he penned letters to the families of the soldiers over the weekend, and they would be sent later that day or the next day.
“The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls,” Trump said. “I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it. They have made the ultimate sacrifice. So, generally I would say I would like to call. I’m going to be calling them, I want a little time to pass.”
Watch a video of Trump’s remarks below:
Trump was called out on the claim a few minutes later by NBC News White House Correspondent Peter Alexander, and he backtracked on the comments.
“I was told that (Obama) didn’t often, and a lot of presidents don’t, they write letters,” Trump said. “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 some times and maybe some times he didn’t, I don’t know, that’s what I was told.”
After making the claim, Trump was blasted on Twitter and accused by some former Obama officials as saying an outright lie and slandering the former president.
Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco called Trump a “deranged animal” for making the remarks.
Senior Advisor to Obama Dan Pfeiffer also chimed in, calling him a “pathological liar.”
Other people accused Trump of making blasphemous lies on a national stage about Obama.