Former officials from the Obama White House quickly emphasized that Trump's statement was not true and Obama routinely called families of soldiers killed in the field. "I like to call when it's appropriate", Trump said. "President Obama engaged families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to Section 60 at Arlington, visits to Walter Reed, visits to Dover, and regular meetings with Gold Star Families at the White House and across the country".
"I've written them personal letters", Trump claimed, insisting those letters have "been sent, or they're going out tonight, but they were written during the weekend".
Many were surprised to earn the USA was sending troops there, and many have been comparing Trump's and the GOP's response to the four soldiers killed in action to the GOP's years of multi-million dollar investigations into the killings of four Americans in Benghazi, and wondering why the soldiers killed in Niger didn't get the same attention.
"I felt very, very badly about that", Trump said during a press availability in the Rose Garden.
"The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, a lot of them didn't make calls. I think about this every time I approve an operation as president", he said in a May 2016 ceremony at Arlington. "They write letters", Trump said.
As former White House aides and even former Obama Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco pointed out on Twitter after Trump made the claim, Obama and other presidents did, in fact, make calls to those families.
The former president has publicly described the heart-wrenching task of writing letters to the families. "I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter". Other presidents did not call.
Trump made the false claim in response to a question from a reporter about why he hasn't yet commented on the attack that led to the soldiers' deaths. To have it be more than anticipated, he claims that calling those families is an unusual effort that he will undertake.
Why not do it right away? I want a little time to pass, I'm going to be calling them.
He didn't indicate when he'd be making the calls.