WASHINGTON — President Trump falsely asserted on Monday that his predecessor, Barack Obama, and other presidents did not contact the families of American troops killed in duty, drawing a swift, angry rebuke from several of Obama’s former aides.

Trump was responding to a question about why he had not spoken publicly about the killing of four US Green Berets in an ambush in Niger two weeks ago when he made the assertion. Rather than answering the reporter’s question, Trump said he had written personal letters to their families and planned to call them in the coming week. Then he pivoted to his predecessors.

“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls,” Trump said during a news conference in the Rose Garden with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. “A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate.”

Trump’s assertion belied a long record of meetings Obama held with the families of killed service people, as well as calls and letters, dating to the earliest days of his presidency. Before he decided to deploy 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, Obama regularly traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for the arrival of the caskets of service members.

Donald Trump continues to be a liar.  This time he surpassed even his own race to the bottom.  He has mortified the American people on a global level and he has reinfected pain on the families of those who gave their all.

What is wrong with this moron?  Yes, I will call him a moron.  (Thank you, Secretary of State Tillerson)  He first failed to mention the deaths of the 4 Green Berets who were killed in Niger.  His lame attempts to justify this neglect turned to lying about his predecessors and then making it all about himself.  No Trump, a killed service person isn’t about YOU, its about that person who gave his or her life for the country and those families who have lost a loved one.  It is our country’s loss.

How many times did Presidents Obama and Bush go off, in the night, without fanfare or press, to solemnly greet those caskets arriving at Dover Air Force Base?  We will probably never know.  We will probably never know of the personal pain service- related deaths have caused past presidents, mainly because they didn’t trumpet their grief all over the cameras.

Donald Trump is a disgrace.  He owes the American people an apology as well as all gold star families.  He, in particular, owes John McCain an apology while he is at it.  Shame on Donald Trump, once again.

19 Thoughts to “Trump: lies, political lies and dishonorable lies”

  1. Is it surprising that many are so “numb” to 45’s actions, that it gets ignored? Sadly, I believe it’s very true.

    1. Are you suggesting people are ignoring bad behavior or that we have become desensitized?

      1. A bit of both, but primarily it’s easier for some to “justify” it, thinking that the “establishment” has never cared about the “little guy” and that 45 does. Most forgetting that 45 has been THE establishment for so long, that he won’t change anything for the betterment of the common man, without making sure people like him are taken care of first. If the common man is left behind, because there is “no more” money for them, then so be it…..the benefits will “trickle down” eventually.

  2. Kelly_3406

    Obama’s behavior toward veterans pissed me off numerous times. For example, he regularly sent form letters and often did NOT call gold-star parents. I know this for a fact from military families during his presidency.

    So let’s cut the the crap here. This was a liberal democrat who is no fan of the military trying to use the death of a military member to create political trouble. Rep. Wilson is the one who deserves condemnation for her behavior. She can go **** herself.

    1. When you don’t know someone, it’s sort of difficult to do anything other than a form letter. I am not sure its necessary to call the families. In fact if they are going to come away this unhappy, better to just stick to a form letter. Probably the most meaningful letter would be that from the commander, who actually knew the individual.

      Why is it that you can’t condemn bad behavior and continue to deflect back to Obama? Obama isn’t in office. I wasn’t a George Bush fan but I have never criticized him over a breach of civility.

      I am tired of the Congresswoman being criticized for eavesdropping on a private conversation. She was in the car with the widow and they were on speaker phone. That’s sort of how it works nowadays.

      1. Kelly_3406


        First of all, I do not think this was an instance of bad behavior. From what I can tell (personal knowledge and published articles), President Trump is largely correct that other presidents did not usually call the widows/widowers or parents of our KIA. Sure they met with them in groups or paid respects at Dover, but for the most part they did not make personal visits or phone calls. If you ever had to console someone who lost a loved one, you know that it takes a lot more strength and guts to console someone individually.

        Second of all, Trump was trying to do the right thing, but someone maliciously tried to score cheap political points off of his poor choice of words. It was a vile thing to do and you should ask yourself this: If it had been Obama making the call and he stumbled verbally while trying to comfort someone, would Rep. Wilson have brought it up publicly? The clear answer is no. If you wonder why there is currently such a poisoned political atmosphere, look no further than events like this.

        Third, comparisons with Obama put a particular event in context. If Trump received criticism for similar actions/behaviors taken by but not criticized for Obama, then we know the whole thing was a sham. That was the case here.

        It may not be NECESSARY for the president to call or send personal notes to families who have lost their loved ones in battle. But it is usually very comforting for the family to receive personal condolences from the commander in chief and to hear from the president that their sacrifice is meaningful. It is a personal touch that shows that the entire chain of command from the battlefield commander through the president truly cares. The deeds and words of Obama never convinced many of us that served under him that he truly cared.

      2. I think that Trump perhaps started off meaning well. It ended there. You know, if I am particularly bad at a certain thing, then why would I practice on someone at the worst time in their life.

        I think what he said was really horrible. I also know some gold star parents. They expressed their horror at what was said. No, I don’t think Obama, George Bush or Clinton would have bungled things that badly. However, if they had, then they would have all three apologized rather than doubling down and calling out other presidents. Trump was just childish.

        Furthermore, that isn’t what the reporter asked him in the first place. Trump was asked why he hadn’t commented to the American people. He went off th rails and got all defensive about his bungled remarks to the widow.

        Question: Did he call the other three families? Maybe he should recognize that he isn’t real good at this and act accordingly.wants to
        I am not sure every gold star family wants to hear from the President of the United States. I don’t think we can assume it is comforting. It actually seems rather impersonal to me. But thankfully, I am not a gold star parent or wife.

        I believe your politics probably guided your feelings about Obama. I was never a George bush fan but I also never doubted his sincerity.

      3. Trump is now calling the widow a liar this morning. Why can’t he just be gracious, apologize and turn this disaster into something positive?

        Having class is never making someone else uncomfortable or ill-at-ease. Trump has not mastered this skill. He has no class.

    2. Kelly_3406,

      Other Generals have gone on record expressing that the families do not want to hear from the President at a time like this. Regardless of how you feel this politician does or does not like the military, it’s even been reported that the family in question did not appreciate the call from 45. Then, I guess, Trumpists will all gang up on this Gold-Star Family as they has with the Khan Family.

      1. Kelly_3406

        Joe George,

        One cannot make a blanket statement regarding the preferences of military families — they are a diverse group. Clearly this family did not appreciate the phone call from Trump. Other military families, however, have publicly stated that they appreciated Trump’s calls.

        Rep. Wilson could have done a lot of good by calling General Kelly privately to let him know that Trump’s call was not wanted and did not comfort the family. Instead, she chose to embarrass the president publicly. Think how much better the political climate would have been over the last week if she had taken the civil course of action to discuss this in private.

        As for the Khans, I wish that Trump had been nicer to them. However, they used their status as a gold-star family as a means to obtain a public platform to criticize a presidential candidate. When someone enters a political fray, then the political opponent has the right to respond, whether the criticism is from a gold-star family or not.

        This reminded me of the anti-war protests by Cindy Sheehan against President Bush after her son was killed in Iraq. Bush did not respond for many months out of respect for her status as a gold-star Mom, which made him appear weak and impotent. Bush’s popularity began to decline and support for the war started to erode. In retrospect, Sheehan used her status as a gold-star parent as a political weapon. Bush should have responded sooner and more forcefully against her, because she had become a political partisan.

        It appears that Trump learned from Bush’s mistake with Cindy Sheehan.

      2. I thought Cindy Sheehan was over the top. I never saw Bush as weak and incompetent over Sheehan’s antics. Bush, unlike Trump, always behaved with dignity. Bush unlike Trump, has class. Trump has none.

      3. Kelly_3406,

        It’s not a blanket statement, unless your statement is one as well? You say that the Khan family, once in the “political fray” , they are fair game, like General Kelly, he’s fair game too?

      4. Nah, I think Kelly is a sacred cow.

        Who has more political power, a gold star family or a 4 star general? hmmmmmmmmm

      5. Kelly_3406

        Joe George,

        Yes. Gen Kelly is fair game as it relates to his job performance, given that he is a key player in the Administration.

        In fact, I will start it off. I think Gen Kelly deserves part of the blame for this escapade. As the Chief of Staff, he should have assigned someone to prepare the Administration’s statement to the American people about the ambush in Niger. That did not happen in a timely manner and then Trump was put on the defensive.

      6. I agree with you about General Kelly, Kelly. He should have handled this situation. On the other hand, and this statement it not to defend him, but he is a general. He really doesn’t know the ins and outs of chief of staff. He really should not have jumped into the fray.

        I will always be convinced that what Trump did was horrible. I think we have to accept that anyone who is president is going to have extraordinary scrutiny. He screwed up. He needs to be armed with prepared statements to avoid sounding like an inarticulate fool.

      7. Scout

        Bush responded appropriately to Cindy Sheehan – with restraint and dignity. If you’re President of the greatest democracy in the world, you can absorb some wrath from the families of people who lose their lives carrying out your policies. I’m sure it’s unpleasant, but you take it. Trump doesn’t get this, and it demeans him and the Nation when he gets tangled up in this.

  3. Scout

    If we get to the point where a President is expected to write individual letters to every Gold Star family, it will drain the meaning of any letter that a President ever sends. It has never been the expectation that any President would do that. What makes Lincoln’s letter to Mrs. Bixby special is that he didn’t send a similar letter to tens (or hundreds) of thousands of other mothers or widows.

    The problem with this last go-round with Mr. Trump is not that he tried to express regret to the family. This started with a period of silence from the White House after the ambush in Niger. Not necessarily silence in expressing regrets to the fallen (although that was part of it), but also silence about the incident itself and its context. As pressure built to find a meaning behind this strange vacuum, it seems that then the President decided he had better spring into action and clumsily conveyed what was probably intended to be a sincere message at an awkward time (while the family was en route to the funeral). I think General Kelly tried to coach him in a way to deal with it, but the President, lacking any military experience and being many bricks short of a load on basic empathetic human relations, couldn’t quite pull it off. Of course, it didn’t help that someone like Congresswoman Wilson happened to be in the car listening to the call. I agree with our commenter Kelly (to distinguish from General Kelly) that her best course would have been to privately complain to General Kelly or Secretary Mattis, if she found the message ineffective or worse. Of course, things spiraled down from there, as they often do, with Trump reflexively throwing blame at his predecessors when the controversy broke, and then sending General Kelly out to cover for him. I actually thought General Kelly’s comments were explanatory (you could see how the “he knew what he was signing up for” language transferred from the kind of thing that a career military officer might say to another career military officer on the loss of a family member in combat to something that came off as kind of a clunker from Trump to a young widow). Of course, then General Kelly got a little carried away and mis-remembered or mistold an experience he thought he had had some time ago with Rep. Wilson. He really needs to clean that up first thing Monday morning.

    Of course, the press now is in a tizzy about this, and it probably should be allowed to die. It appears the President and staff are now pulling all-nighters trying to fire off letters to every combat fatality we’ve had since he took office so he can say he belongs to the clean plate club on the Gold Star letter-writing front. This is all silly. Let’s hope all our Presidents find the right words at the right time for our Gold Star families and that they extend respect and honor to the fallen. I don’t think citizens have any reason to complain about the records of Trump’s predecessors in that regard. Trump needs to understand that it’s not a matter of telephoning or writing everyone, but of assessing what should be public, what should be private, and what best preserves the traditions with which we honor our military men and women. And, now, let’s have a sensible discussion of what we are doing with the military in Africa and how we manage intelligently and successfully, without empty bluster, looming crises that could likely cause a great many more calls and notes to bereaved families

    1. Yes, why are we having our troops killed in Africa? Once again, the bright shiny objects have taken our eyes off the essential and the critical.

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