Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
Donald Trump is now exploiting the death of Chief of Staff John Kelly’s son, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, to prop up his recent lie about President Obama’s record of calling bereaved families of fallen soldiers. Trump made the statement during an interview with Fox News Radio on Tuesday morning.
“You could ask Gen. Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?” Trump said. “I don’t know what Obama’s policy was.”
The cynical remark came just one day after the White House attempted to blame the Pentagon for Trump’s failure to call the families of four Green Beret soldiers killed in Niger two weeks ago. According to a New York Times report, a “senior official said Mr. Trump had planned to speak sooner to the families, but the White House had to wait until the Pentagon’s paperwork was completed.”
The statement suggests the Pentagon was unable or unwilling to release the names of the deceased for 12 days. Actually, the agency shared the names of those killed in action immediately after the incident.
The deflections follow a lie-filled press conference on Monday during which the president falsely suggested Obama neglected to contact the families of fallen soldiers in the war. When pressed on his falsehood, Trump blamed his generals for possibly giving him bad information, stating, “President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t, I don’t know, that’s what I was told…All I can do is ask my generals. Other presidents did not call, they would write letters, and some presidents didn’t do anything.”
CNN notes that Kelly “has tried to keep his son’s death private.”
Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.