Talking Points Memo reports:
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told TPM Monday that President Donald Trump was not criticizing his predecessor when he claimed that former President Barack Obama did not call grieving military families. Trump walked back the claim when a reporter asked him about it.
At a press conference Monday, Trump claimed that “President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls,” to the families of fallen service members. A former Obama White House official strenuously objected to the claim in an email to TPM, as have several other former Obama White House staffers. “The President wasn’t criticizing predecessors, but stating a fact,” Sanders said in an email to TPM.
“When American heroes make the ultimate sacrifice, Presidents pay their respects,” she continued. “Sometimes they call, sometimes they send a letter, other times they have the opportunity to meet family members in person. This President, like his predecessors, has done each of these. Individuals claiming former presidents, such as their bosses, called each family of the fallen, are mistaken.”
@realDonaldTrump was stating a made-up fact. He was golfing while the bodies of soldiers KIA were arriving in the U.S. There’s no excuse. One of those soldiers is already buried, a soldier w/ over 200 yrs. of service in his family. Why didn’t the U.S. dictator mention that FACT??
— Michele Martindill (@Docsociology4) October 16, 2017
He was doing THIS instead of contacting the soldier’s loved ones: pic.twitter.com/7Jlpuw2hVc
— JMPanz (@JeannePancurak) October 16, 2017
Trump’s exact words, per WH transcript:
“If you look at President Obama and other Presidents, most of them didn’t make calls” pic.twitter.com/nDsoNDfpBJ
— David S. Joachim (@davidjoachim) October 16, 2017