Trump was responding to a question about why he had not spoken publicly about the killing of four Green Berets in an ambush in Niger two weeks ago when he made the assertion on Monday, reports The New York Times.
Rather than answering the question, Trump said he had written personal letters to their families and planned to call them in the coming week. Then he pivoted to his predecessors.
“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls,” 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.”
Trump’s assertion belied a long record of meetings Obama held with the families of killed service people, as well as calls and letters, dating to the earliest days of his presidency.
Before he decided to deploy 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, Obama had travelled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to pay his respects to the fallen soldiers.
Obama’s former staff members have lashed out at Trump’s remarks, The New York Times reported.
“This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser to Obama, tweeted late Monday.
Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former senior aide to Obama, used even stronger language on Twitter, calling MTrump’s statement a lie and describing him as a “deranged animal”.
David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama, said: “I don’t recall anything moving him more. He saw it as his duty to console them as best he could and thank them on behalf of the nation