President Donald Trump is catching flak for his insistence some past presidents did not call and/or write letters to the families of fallen U.S. soldiers.
Trump was asked during a press conference in the Rose Garden Monday why he has not commented on the four American soldiers who died during an ambush attack in Niger earlier this month.
"I've written them personal letters. They've been sent, or they're going out [Monday night], but they were written during the weekend," said Trump, who insisted he will pick up the phone at some point and call the families.
"I will at some point, during the period of time, call the parents and the families. I have done that traditionally. I felt very, very badly about that. I always feel badly. The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed. It is a difficult thing. It gets to a point where you make four or five of them in one day. It's a very, very tough day. For me, it's by far the toughest."
Trump then accused former President Barack Obama and other commanders-in-chief of not reaching out to families of fallen soldiers.
"If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls," Trump said. "A lot of them didn't make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate, when I am able to do it. They have made the ultimate sacrifice."
Later during the press conference, Trump was asked how he could make a statement that suggested Obama did not call gold star families.
"I don't know if he didn't," Trump said. "I was told that he didn't often. A lot of presidents don't. They write letters. I do a combination of both. . . . President Obama I think probably did sometimes. 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'd write letters. Some presidents didn't do anything. I like the combination. I like when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter."
Trump's comments did not go over well among former members of Obama's staff.
Alyssa Mastromonaco, who worked in the Obama White House, used profanity to slam Trump's response on Twitter.
Dan Pfeiffer, who was a senior advisor to Obama, had this to say:
Pete Souza, who worked as the chief White House photographer during Obama's presidency, posted an image of Obama consoling a gold star family on his Instagram account Monday:
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