Ex-Obama Official: Trump 'Unequivocally Wrong' About Calling Grieving Families

While the White House didn't disclose exactly which official was smearing Obama, Steven Perlberg of BuzzFeed later reported that Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was one of the officials confirming on background that Obama hadn't called Kelly.

Barack Obama's White House photographer has led the charge in rebutting Donald Trump's claim that his predecessors did not call or console families of soldiers killed in action.

Mr Trump made the claim as he was asked by a reporter at the White House on Monday why he had not yet contacted the families of four USA soldiers who were killed in Niger on 4 October.

"This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards", said Ben Rhodes, Mr Obama's foreign policy adviser.

Alyssa Mastromonaco, who was Obama's deputy chief of staff, called Trump a "deranged animal" on Twitter Monday evening. "President Obama engaged families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to Section 60 at Arlington, visits to Walter Reed, visits to Dover, and regular meetings with Gold Star Families at the White House and across the country", the official told NBC News.

Sharon Belkofer, a Gold Star mother whose son died in 2010 in Afghanistan, told the Democratic National Convention in 2016 that she met Obama at Ft.

Retired General Martin E. Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed these contacts, tweeting: "POTUS 43 & 44 and first ladies cared deeply, worked tirelessly for the serving, the fallen, and their families". So, generally I would say I would like to call.

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In an impromptu and free-wheeling press conference on Monday, the US President was asked about the four US soldiers killed in Niger last week.

On Tuesday, the White House remained on the attack on this issue, defending Trump's initial comments, but also including a specific example.

"Now, as far as other representatives, I don't know", he continued.

Challenged on that point during a news conference, Trump said he had been told that Obama rarely made such calls.

A spokesman for Obama declined to comment.

"I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter", he said. "But they were written during the weekend". I don't know what Obama did. "Sometimes they call, sometimes they send a letter, other times they have the opportunity to meet family members in person".

Former White House defense secretary and chief of staff Leon Panetta said that Obama made calls to families in 2011 after 30 soldiers died in a helicopter explosion in Afghanistan - Obama and Panetta flew to the DE air force base to meet with families as the soldiers' remains were delivered home, the Post reports. I am not speaking for other people. "I'm going to be calling them, I want a little time to pass".