Yesterday, the President is embroiled himself in controversy when, after waiting nearly two weeks to even address their deaths at all, Trump finally called the widow of U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson only to tell her, “He must have known what he signed up for.”
— Kanisha Jackson (@Kanisha1Jackson) October 18, 2017
Upon hearing the President’s words, Gold Star mom Karen Meredith, who lost her son, First Lieutenant Ken Ballard, in Iraq, issued a scathing condemnation of Trump.
Gold Star mom Karen Meredith, who lost her son, First Lieutenant Ken Ballard, in Iraq, tells Trump "please stop making everything about you" pic.twitter.com/3nqA5005Ip
— VoteVets (@votevets) October 18, 2017
“Mr. Trump, stop. Please, just stop. Your actions and words on this entire matter of the fallen in Niger is disgraceful, and unbecoming of a President of the Untied States and Commander in Chief. This is not about you, it is about them. It is about all of us who lost our loved ones in war. For once in your life, please stop making everything about you. For once in your life, at least pretend to know what empathy is. For once in your life, at least try to care about other people and their feelings,” she wrote.
The President has spent the past few days insinuating that President Obama had failed to console the grieving families of fallen soldiers in a timely fashion to cover up the fact that Trump simply didn’t care enough to respond to their deaths until he was publicly forced to by the media.
While excusing his own delay, Trump claimed that while he has “traditionally” called the families of slain soldiers, past presidents “didn’t make calls.”
Trump just claimed no President has ever called families of fallen troops, insulting thousands of Gold Star Families pic.twitter.com/G3gW160Wfn
— Vets Against Trump (@commondefense) October 16, 2017
“The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens — soldiers are killed,” Trump said. “It’s a very difficult thing. Now it gets to a point where you make four or five of them in one day, it’s a very, very tough day. For me that’s by far the toughest. 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.”
Both sides of the aisle quickly condemned the statement, including former Obama administration officials who chimed in in what has become a widely-derided and easily debunked claim by a President with a tenuous grasp of reality and even more tenuous relationship with facts.
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
Within 15 minutes of making his statement, when Trump was pressed on his claim, he quickly backtracked, claiming instead that he was “told” Obama didn’t call the families of slain soldiers.
“And a lot of presidents don’t, they write letters. … I do a combination of both. Sometimes, it’s a very difficult thing to do, but I do a combination of both. President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t, I don’t know, that’s what I was told,” Trump said.