In a press conference on Monday, President Donald Trump admitted he has not yet spoken to the families of the four Special Forces troops who were killed in an ambush in Niger on October 4—nearly two weeks ago—but assured reporters that he composed letters to them and plans to send them out “either today or tomorrow.”
While he wasn’t asked about his predecessors’ approach to contacting military families whose loved ones who have been killed in action, the president made sure to note that President Barack Obama and other former presidents didn’t make a habit of speaking with families—a claim for which he offered no evidence and which drew immediate criticism on social media.
As journalist Daniel Dale, the Toronto Star‘s Washington correspondent, noted, “Trump delivered the Obama smear in the middle of a mad ad-lib scramble to explain why he’d neglected his own duties. It’s a go-to move.”
Obama’s former aides were among those who were outraged by the comments, as well as the press corps’ failure to push back firmly against the president’s false remarks.
Later in the press conference, Trump vaguely repeated that he’d been “told” that Obama didn’t make such calls, and that he “probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t.”
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