U.S. President Donald Trump says he plans to call the families of four Special Forces soldiers who were killed earlier this month in Niger, and claimed that former President Barack Obama didn’t usually make calls to families of soldiers killed in action.
Trump made the remark during a news conference Monday in the Rose Garden, after being asked why he hasn’t made a public comment about the deaths of the U.S. soldiers killed in Niger.
Trump said that he has written personal letters to the soldiers’ families and plans to call them, as well.
“The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens — soldiers are killed. It’s a very difficult thing,” Trump 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,” he added.
Obama’s former deputy chief of staff, Alyssa Mastromonaco, tweeted that Trump’s comment was a “f–ing lie” and called Trump “a deranged animal.”
When asked later in the news conference to clarify his accusation about Obama, Trump said he was told that his predecessor “didn’t often” make calls to families of soldiers killed in action.
“I don’t know if he did. … I was told that he didn’t often,” Trump replied.
“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.
Trump said he wants to wait until the appropriate time to call the families of those soldiers killed in Niger. “I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it. … I want a little time to pass,” he said.
The Pentagon announced earlier this month that four U.S. Army Green Berets were killed in Niger during a joint patrol with Nigerian troops. It said that Islamic State fighters were responsible for the October 4 attack, which also left four of Niger’s security personnel dead.