Former Obama aides blasted President Trump over a comment he made Monday comparing his actions in the White House to those of previous administrations.
What did Trump say to make them so angry?
During a press conference with Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump said that he had called wounded soldiers when previous presidents had not. He was answering a question about four Green Berets who were killed in Niger.
“I’ve written them personal letters. They’ve been sent, or they’re going out tonight,” the president said. “But they were written during the weekend. I will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families, because I have done that traditionally.”
“So the traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls,” Trump claimed. “A lot of them didn’t make calls.”
“I like to call when it’s appropriate,” he concluded, “when I think I’m able to do it.”
Here’s video of Trump’s comments:
Trump on soldiers killed in Niger: "President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls … I call when it's appropriate." pic.twitter.com/sgj5iEuDhz
— Axios (@axios) October 16, 2017
How did Obama aides react?
Former Obama foreign policy advisor Ben Rhodes was aghast.
This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards. Also: Obama never attacked a Gold Star family. https://t.co/JgzTUIzWIa
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 16, 2017
“This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards,” he tweeted. “Also: Obama never attacked a Gold Star family,” apparently referring to the feud Trump had before the election with Khizr Khan, the father of a U.S. soldier who died fighting in the Iraq War.
Obama’s former deputy chief of staff of operations, Alyssa Mastromonaco, was even more vitriolic in her response.
She tweeted, “that’s a f**king lie. to say president obama (or past presidents) didn’t call the family members of soldiers KIA – he’s a deranged animal.”
Did the White House clarify the comments?
The White House later said that the president was merely stating a “fact” about previous presidents, something that is being disputed by many in the media.
WH says POTUS was "stating a fact" about former presidents including Obama not calling families of fallen soldiers. Fact check: False.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) October 16, 2017