President Donald Trump came under fire Monday when he alleged former President Barack Obama and other past presidents didn’t “make calls” to the families of fallen service members.
On Tuesday, Trump responded to the uproar with a question about his own chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly.
"You could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama,” Trump reportedly said.
Trump says he doesn't know what others leaders' did with fallen soldiers. “You could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?”
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) October 17, 2017
Kelly's son, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, was killed on November 9, 2010, by a land mine while he was leading a platoon of Marines in Afghanistan. He was 29 years old. It's unclear if Trump has spoken with Kelly over whether he received a call from Obama.
Here's exactly what Trump said, according to The New York Times:
“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls,” Mr. Trump said during a news conference in the Rose Garden with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. “A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate.”
Former Attorney General Eric Holder was the most high-profile former Obama administration official to publicly denounce President Trump, telling him to “stop the damn lying.”
Stop the damn lying - you’re the President. I went to Dover AFB with 44 and saw him comfort the families of both the fallen military & DEA. pic.twitter.com/HhE4KbTBkJ
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) October 17, 2017
“Stop the damn lying — you’re the President. I went to Dover AFB with 44 and saw him comfort the families of both the fallen military & DEA,” Holder tweeted.
Trump also appeared to backtrack somewhat on the issue during a radio interview with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade.
“I don’t know what Obama’s policy was,” Trump said.
Trump went on to say Obama’s policy on responding to soldiers’ deaths was “somewhat different” than his, but he didn’t say Obama never made calls while he was president.