White House: Trump Spoke To Families Of Soldiers Killed In Niger, 13 Days Later

President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks to members of the media regarding the on going situation in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, N.J. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Donald Trump on Tuesday spoke to the families of four Green Berets killed in Niger earlier in October, according to the White House, almost two weeks after the soldiers died.

“President Trump spoke to all four of the families of those who were killed in action in Niger,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, according to a pool report. “He offered condolences on behalf of a grateful nation and assured them their family’s extraordinary sacrifice to the country will never be forgotten.”

Trump on Monday acknowledged that he had not yet contacted the families of the soldiers who died in the attack on Oct. 4, but said he had “written them personal letters.”

“They’ve been sent, or they’re going out tonight,” Trump said. “I’m going to be calling them. I want a little time to pass.”

He also accused former President Barack Obama and other former presidents of not making calls to Gold Star families.

“I was told that he didn’t often and a lot of presidents don’t. They write letters,” Trump said. “President Obama I think probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know. That’s what I was told. All I can do is ask my generals.”

Multiple former Obama administration officials swiftly denied Trump’s allegation, which the President escalated on Tuesday, suggesting that reporters ask his chief of staff John Kelly whether he got “a call from Obama” when Kelly’s son died in Afghanistan in 2010.

White House visitor records show that Obama hosted Kelly at a breakfast for Gold Star families in 2011, where Kelly reportedly sat at former first lady Michelle Obama’s table.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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