President Donald Trump has been slammed for falsely suggesting former President Barack Obama did not call the family members of soldiers who died in action.
Commenting that he had written letters to the families of the four soldiers killed in Niger, the president on Monday hit out at his predecessor, in an accusation that immediately prompted fact-checking pundits on social media to shoot down Trump’s accusations as a lie.
“I have written them personal letters, they have been sent or they’re going out tonight but they were written over the weekend. I will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families because I have done that traditionally,” MSNBC cited Trump's remarks regarding the fallen U.S. elite soldiers in Niger last week.
“The traditional way if you look at president Obama and other presidents, most of them 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 say that I like to call,” he added.
Trump on soldiers killed in Niger: "President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls ... I call when it's appropriate." pic.twitter.com/sgj5iEuDhz— Axios (@axios) October 16, 2017
Obama’s former foreign policy adviser and speechwriter Ben Rhodes wrote on Twitter: “This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards. Also: Obama never attacked a Gold Star family."
This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards. Also: Obama never attacked a Gold Star family. https://t.co/JgzTUIzWIa— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 16, 2017
Other Twitter users also shared examples of former presidents honoring fallen soldiers, in an attempt to dispute Trump’s assertions.
President Obama showed all of honor & dignity of a real President. I'm ashamed of Trump's lie. He dishonors us all. HT @Tanker_wife4life pic.twitter.com/QUxAqcjTvJ— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) October 16, 2017
that's a fucking lie. to say president obama (or past presidents) didn't call the family members of soldiers KIA - he's a deranged animal.— Alyssa Mastromonaco (@AlyssaMastro44) October 16, 2017
When Trump was challenged on his comments about Obama at the press conference, he added: “I don’t know if he did [call the families] no, no. I was told that he didn’t often, and a lot of presidents don’t write letters. I do a combination of both. Sometimes it’s a very difficult thing to do but I do a combination of both.
“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’d write letters. And some presidents didn’t do anything but I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter,” he added.
It is not the first time Trump has made an assertion about Obama that turns out to be incorrect. Indeed, Trump entered the national political arena as a vocal member of the birther movement, falsely insisting Obama was not born in the U.S., and pushing for him to show his birth certificate to prove he was not born in Kenya.
On another occasion, Trump claimed that Obama had ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election, in an allegation the FBI later said they had not found any evidence of.
And Trump's team is not immune to "fake news" involving Obama, as his former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed the Republican had the biggest inauguration crowd in history. Spicer apparently dismissed images that show Obama had a far larger crowd at his 2009 inauguration.
In addition to mounting falsehoods about Obama, Trump has also targeted the former president's legislation with a number of exaggerated statements that back his own policies above those of Obama.
On several occasions, Trump has suggested Obamacare "covers very few people," apparently forgetting that 20 million were people covered at the time he made such a statement.
The latest false suggestion about Obama from the president has prompted a strong reaction on social media, particularly from former Obama aides who have responded to Trump’s statement.
Pete Souza: 'I photographed [President Obama] meeting with hundreds of wounded soldiers, and family members of those killed in action.' pic.twitter.com/01pICn3YVo— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 16, 2017
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