Trump doubles down on false claim about Obama and Gold Star families

But Ned Price, a former spokesman for Mr Obama, called on Mr Kelly to stop "this inane cruelty".

He also claimed, without merit, that 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.

"I think I've called every family of someone who's died", Trump said during an interview.

"I was told that (Obama) didn't often, and a lot of presidents don't, they write letters", Trump said.

Rachel Maddow notes that not only did Donald Trump fail to duly honor the recent deaths of U.S. Green Berets attacked in Niger, but given the chance, he told a lie about President Obama instead. "Obama and other presidents" most certainly made calls.

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Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, now Trump's chief of staff, lost his son in Afghanistan in November 2010.

Here is one of those occasions, shared by AM Joy contributor Scott Dworkin, when the former president flew to DE at midnight in 2009 to meet with family members and pay his respects to 18 soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

In an impromptu and free-wheeling press conference on Monday, the US President was asked about the four US soldiers killed in Niger last week. I don't know what (George W.) Bush did.

Trump said that over the weekend letters had been drafted for the families and would be "going out either today or tomorrow".

The comments prompted backlash from some Obama administration aides.

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Former White House defense secretary and chief of staff Leon Panetta said that Obama made calls to families in 2011 after 30 soldiers died in a helicopter explosion in Afghanistan - Obama and Panetta flew to the DE air force base to meet with families as the soldiers' remains were delivered home, the Post reports.

"This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards", Benjamin J. Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser to Obama, posted on Twitter. "Sometimes they call, sometimes they send a letter, other times they have the opportunity to meet family members in person". "The hardest thing for me to do is [make those calls]", Trump said. "I like to call when it's appropriate". "I don't know. That's what I was told", Trump added.

Another added: "I am gold star Mom and, I've never in my life felt so much hatred as I do towards this troll in the Oval Office". All you have to do is ask the military people, but I believe his policy was somewhat different than my policy.

Gen Kelly has yet to comment on the president's latest remarks.

Still, in early 2011, the family of one fallen soldier, Sgt. Sean Collins, told Fox News they had requested a call from Obama and were told his schedule was too packed for a conversation.

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