During the Q&A following an impromptu Rose Garden press conference alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday afternoon, President Trump was asked a question about why he has remained silent about the four United States Green Berets who were killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month. The attack happened back on October 6, and while Trump has not yet acknowledged the deadly attack, he has found plenty of time to tweet, golf, attack our free press, and dismantle the U.S. healthcare system.
Trump was clearly not prepared to take the question, as it became soon apparent by his response. “I’ve written them personal letters. They’ve been sent or they’re going out tonight, but they were [unintelligible] during the weekend,” he said. “I will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families, cause I have done that traditionally.” After speaking to the point of how difficult it is for him, personally, to have to reach out to the grieving families of fallen servicemen, things really went off the rails as he deflected to his favorite scapegoat:
“The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of ’em 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, they have made the ultimate sacrifice, so generally I would like to say that I like to call — I’m going to be calling them — I want a little time to pass, I’m going to be calling them. I have, as you know, since I’ve been president, I have. But in addition, I actually wrote letters individually to the soldiers we’re talking about, and they’re going to be going out either today or tomorrow.”
Again, it’s been nearly two weeks since the soldiers were killed. When the president was quickly asked a followup about — hey, how do you know that Obama didn’t call families of fallen soldiers, he backtracked and dismissed the question by claiming to have heard in passing from his generals.
Suffice to say, people are not buying it:
Update: former White House photographer Pete Souza weighs in:
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The President and First Lady console Paul and Janet, parents of Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti, who had just been awarded posthumously with the Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan. This was the first of 52 Medals of Honor, the nation’s highest award for military valor, that President Obama bestowed during his two terms. I also photographed him meeting with hundreds of wounded soldiers, and family members of those killed in action.