Trump recently said: “So 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, I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it.”
He also said: “To the best of my knowledge, I think I’ve called every family of somebody that’s died, and it’s the hardest call to make…As far as other representatives, I don’t know, I mean you could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?”
Let’s fact check Trump’s comments.
We found ample evidence of Obama’s engagement with families of fallen and wounded warriors.
Obama regularly signed condolence letters to families and said there was “nothing more sobering” in a 2009 speech on Afghanistan.
Pete Souza, former White House photographer, posted a picture of Obama consoling the parents of Jared Monti, a sergeant in Afghanistan who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
“I also photographed him meeting with hundreds of wounded soldiers, and family members of those killed in action,” Souza wrote in the caption.
In 2009, Obama made an unscheduled late-night visit to Dover Air Force Base to receive the remains of 18 U.S. soldiers and drug enforcement agents from Afghanistan and comfort the families of the dead. The news media was only allowed to witness the last transfer off the plane.
In 2010, Gold Star mother Sharon Belkofer met Obama at Fort Drum, and a year later he requested to see her again, as she told the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
Obama visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the day before his inauguration and at least three times as president by 2011.
First Lady Michelle Obama recalled their visits during the first term would last hours “because there would be 25, 50, 75 folks that we’d be seeing, going room to room, many with devastating injuries.”
A White House official told the Associated Press Obama did not call Kelly. The official did not immediately respond to questions about whether the former president reached out in another fashion.
The AP also reported, however, that White House visitor records showed Kelly attended a breakfast Obama hosted for Gold Star families six months after his son died. A person familiar with the breakfast – speaking on condition of anonymity because the event was private – said the Kelly family sat at Michelle Obama’s table.
There is no reason for Trump to lie in this way. Trump has failed to be a truth teller. As a veteran, I am appalled at the depravity of these statements.