Trump’s Pathetic Lies Reach A New Low
Now Donald Trump is using the death of American soldiers to tell lies about his predecessor.
Nearly two weeks ago now, four American soldiers were killed in an incident in the African nation of Niger in what was apparently a joint mission against Boko Haram, the terrorist group that has been active in the region for years now and which has proclaimed alliances with and allegiance to both ISIS and al Qaeda in recent years. In addition to raising questions about exactly why Americans were involved in a nation that few of us have ever heard of, the incident is apparently under Pentagon review due to questions about the circumstances under which the deaths occurred, the incident also raised questions about the White House’s response to the incident. For example, while President Trump has been quite active on Twitter in the nearly two weeks since the soldier’s deaths’ he has had nothing to say about these days and the White House has been virtually silent on the matter.
All of this led reporters to bring the issue up yesterday, which gave the President the opportunity to tell what amounts to a bald-faced lie about President Obama’s response to the death of troops under his own watch:
President Trump falsely asserted on Monday that his predecessor, Barack Obama, and other presidents did not contact the families of American troops killed in duty, drawing a swift, angry rebuke from several of Mr. Obama’s former aides.
Mr. 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. Rather than answering the question, Mr. 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,” 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.”
Mr. Trump’s assertion belied a long record of meetings Mr. 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, Mr. Obama traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to greet the coffins of troops.
While Mr. Obama’s former staff members have grown used to Mr. Trump’s gibes about the “failure” of the Affordable Care Act or the “disastrous” Iran nuclear deal, they lashed out at his remarks on Monday with unusual bitterness.
“This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser to Mr. Obama, posted on Twitter. “Also,” Mr. Rhodes added, “Obama never attacked a Gold Star family.”
That reference was to the public feud Mr. Trump began with the parents of a Muslim American soldier, Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. The soldier’s parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, appeared at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, where Mr. Khan criticized Mr. Trump.
Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former senior aide to Mr. Obama, used even stronger language on Twitter, calling Mr. Trump’s statement a lie — along with an expletive — and describing him as a “deranged animal.”
A spokesman for Mr. Obama declined to comment.
Several former Obama administration officials recalled the former president’s walks through Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery, where the dead from Iraq and Afghanistan are buried, his visits to the wounded at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the time he spent with families of the fallen at the White House and around the country.
In August 2011, after a Chinook military helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan, killing 38 people, including 25 Special Operations forces, Mr. Obama consoled the families of all those killed, according to Jeremy B. Bash, a former chief of staff to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who attended the ceremony.
David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Mr. 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.”
But several officials said it was not always realistic to expect presidents to call the families of every fallen soldier. During the peak years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Obama and former President George W. Bush faced hundreds of fatalities each year.
In 2009, the first year of Mr. Obama’s presidency, there were 317 American military fatalities in Afghanistan and 149 in Iraq. So far this year, there have been 11 fatalities in Afghanistan and 14 in Iraq. Seventeen sailors were killed in accidents involving two Navy warships, the John S. McCain and the Fitzgerald.
While he did not explain why he had not called their families, Mr. Trump said he had written letters to the family members over the weekend, which he said would be mailed later in the day or on Tuesday. He said he also planned to call them.
“I felt very, very badly about that,” he said. “The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens. Soldiers are killed. It’s a very difficult thing,” he said. “Now, it gets to a point where, you know, you make four or five of them in one day. It’s a very, very tough day. For me, that’s by far the toughest.”
A senior official said Mr. Trump had planned to speak sooner to the families, but the White House had to wait until the Pentagon’s paperwork was completed.
In addition to repeating what is clearly a falsehood regarding his predecessors, Trump sunk even further today when he apparently sought to use the 2010 death of the death of the son of General John Kelly, his own Chief of Staff, as a cudgel against his against his predecessor in office:
Trump on his claim other presidents didn’t call the families of fallen soldiers: “You could ask General Kelly if he got a call from Obama.”
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 17, 2017
While neither Kelly or his family apparently received a direct phone call from the President, reporters did point out that President Obama did have at least some kind of conversation with the Kelly family after their son died:
Gen. Kelly and wife attended Gold Star families breakfast at WH in 2011 and sat at Mrs. Obama’s table, person familiar with breakfast says.
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) October 17, 2017
Kelly also attended 2012 White House dinner honoring "those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn" hosted by Obamas
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) October 17, 2017
That Donald Trump is lying again is hardly a surprise, of course. This has become so common under his Presidency that one can hardly keep up with the number of easily debunked falsehoods are passed off as true on a daily basis by the President, his underlings, or his supporters and surrogates on talk radio and cable news. The same can be said about his continued obsession with engaging in political attacks against his predecessor in office, something that we haven’t really seen from preceding Presidents such as Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama, even in situations where such criticisms may have been warranted by the facts. Not only has Trump broken with that precedent, but he appears to revel in attacking both former President Obama and Hillary Clinton in attempts to defend his own failures in office notwithstanding the fact that the General Election occurred nearly a year ago.
In this case, though, there is something particularly distasteful about using the deaths of American soldiers, including the death of your own Chief of Staff’s son, to score political points against people who aren’t even part of the political scene anymore. There’s plenty to criticize about the war policies followed by both former President Bush and former President Obama, but it is clear from their behavior while in office and since leaving office that they did care about the men and women they sent into battle and that they did the best they could to reach out to the families of the fallen when and where appropriate. The fact that Trump would attack either man over this issue, and that he would lie about them in the process, is an insult to the men and women who died and a slap in the face to their families. (Not that Trump is unfamiliar was slapping Gold Star families in the face, of course.) If nothing else, it reveals just how deep the narcissism of the current occupant of the Oval Office runs and how little he cares about the consequences of what he says. In this case, a combination of a long-standing refusal to take responsibility for his own actions and rhetoric that pre-dates his career as a politician by several decades, a willingness to lie at the drop of a hat even when those lies can be easily debunked, and a core group of supporters that will believe anything he says and support him no matter what he does seems to have combined to allow him to sink to even lower lows than we’ve already seen from him.
I’d say I’m surprised and shocked by this kind of behavior, but this is Donald Trump we’re talking about. Nothing is surprising or shocking anymore, and saying something offensive appears to be standard operating procedure for this White House. What would be surprising is if they told the truth and took responsibility for mistakes, but we all know that’s not going to happen.
Politifalse level of dishonesty
“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.”
“Neither Kelly or his family apparently received a direct phone call from the President”, …reporters did point out that President Obama did have at least some kind of conversation with the Kelly family after their son died:”
Statement was true. BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT
Trump always turns criticism directed at him into a blunt-force-trauma opportunity for him to criticize others., to deflect or distract people from his constant missteps.
By the way, I still do not for one second believe that it’s my fault that millions of working class white voters feel that I do not understand why they voted for a charlatan con man like Trump. To be sure, the election of Trump, may not be my fault, but it is certainly now a problem for me and millions of other non-Trump voters to deal with.
There are NFL players who just poison the environment wherever they go. Keyshawn Johnson. Terrell Owens. Randy Moss. You just don’t want them around because they make everything about them and become a destructive force.
Trump is the same kind of poison. He has taken one of the most solemn duties of the CinC and made it about himself. Have we ever had these sorts of discussions before? No, because previous Presidents have gone about this painful duty in a quite and respectful manner. Donnie probably figures he has a winning issue going with this because he can say absolutely whatever he wants and someone as classy as Obama is never going to get down into the dirt with him.
The Comb-Over in Chief is like an alcoholic abusive father in a destructive downward spiral. No one in the family gets out unscathed. This scum-bag is going to drag down the Office and the Nation on his way down the drain…all in the vain effort to feel better about his miserable loser of a self.
You are one of the dumbest fvckers on the face of the planet.
You probably already know that, deep down.
I just wanted to remind you of it.
@Paul L.: This bullshit spin didn’t work when Sarah Sanders gurgled it up, and you aren’t nearly as articulate as she is.
What I need to know is whether Bush Original called anybody?
I would say that an opportunity to sit at the table with FLOTUS at a ceremony honoring the fallen goes above and beyond a simple phone call, yes? I am not asking a rhetorical question, I am curious as to your answer.
If you play this out…Dumb Donnie has just set himself up to fail, yet again.
Soon we will be in a major conflagration. Of that there is no doubt. With this nonsensical attack on his predecessors he has made it necessary to call each and every family who loses someone.
We lost an average of 560 troops a year in Iraq or about 2 people a day. Iraq was nothing compared to the fights the Comb-Over in Chief is picking with Korea and Iran. We lost over 58,000 troops in Vietnam or about 11 people a day. WW2 saw almost 300 troops lost each day.
So far on Donnies watch we have lost 11 of our people, and by his own admission he has failed to call four of their families.
When we start losing, maybe 3-4,000 troops a year or even more, at the hands of his incompetence…lets see him put down his gold-plated golf clubs and use his tiny hands to dial up each and every one of their families.
Does anybody really think the letters were written over the weekend?
The GOP is the party that tells old white dummies what they want to hear: evolution’s a lie, black people are the real racists, not you, scientists are all lying about global warming, you’re the real patriot, not those Others, guns make everybody safer, we can cut your taxes And fix the deficit, lazy Inner City Persons sit around and just cash welfare checks all day to buy booze…
The party is anti-reality. Trump the inveterate liar is its perfect instrument.
General Marty Dempsey (Retired)
Still, I’m optimistic for our country: So many posts in, and no attempt at “both sides do it:”.
I think we have all gotten to the point where all we realize and agree that Donnie is in a class all by himself.
(The best class… believe me.)
I would say that an opportunity to sit at the table with FLOTUS at a ceremony honoring the fallen goes above and beyond a simple phone call,
Nice way to reduce a phone call directly from the President of the United States and the chance to talk to HIM for a minute. to just a simple phone call.
The ceremony would be nice and a enormous pain in the butt (travel/dressing/minding your manners) at the same time but the call is more personal.
I’m sure Trump views a call as a “chance to talk to him” as well. Whereas I’m betting Obama saw the call as an honor to talk to the parent.
Trump probably shills his stupid red hats to each and every one of them.
Not “talk to him”.
For Paul L. it’s “talk to HIM“.
Paul L is longing for a little of that cheeto dust magic…
Even @MBunge isn’t stupid enough to try and defend this. Congratulations, you win Trump Toady of the Week.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
“talk to HIM“.
It is worst then you think. Packing a lot of hate in one word.
It was a dig at the I’m with Her crowd. I was pointing out that all Presidents are male.
Clinton lost because the US is a Patriarchy, misogynist and not ready for a female President and leader.
Clinton lost because idiots like you were duped by Putin and Comey.
Though your misogyny is readily clear.
@Joe: No, of course not. Equivalent to ” the check is in the mail”, which I’m sure Trump has used a time or two.
The No Values Voter crowd will diligently scour the internet looking for any exception that may exonerate their narcissitic, classless pig of a hero in some microscopically small way and declare victory. Aided, of course, by the nameless agitprop network.
I’ve probably said this before, but just when you think that Mangolini has plumbed to the lowest depths of trashiness, he goes even lower.
The oval office is currently occupied by a man who is essentially not much different from the uninformed right-wing trolls many people deal with on the internet every day. Given that fact, it’s hardly surprising that President Trump probably actually believes that Barack Obama hated the military and even that he avoided sending his condolences to the families of fallen troops.
If you find yourself shaking your head wondering how could the President of the United States could say such things, just turn on Fox & Friends or Hannity … then realize this is the where a man who has access to expert analysis on virtually any subject, apparently instead chooses to get the majority of information on which he bases his day to day decisions.
Elections have consequences. :-/
This x 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
Sample call from POTUS Trump:
“Thoughts and prayers, had I been there, your son would still be alive today. I was a great soldier, probably the best had it not been for these darn bone spurs. But hey, at least your son was not captured, I prefer my heroes not captured, ya know. Anyway, I would have you out to the White House, but I am rarely there. Only around 14 or something soldiers have died since I
have been President, compare that to Obama or Bush, soldiers died like crazy under those guys. It was a pleasure talking to you, our thoughts and prayers…”
Yet another amazing episode of “Believe It Or Trump”. If the facts don’t exist, then he makes them up…
Best response I saw was from Delilia O’Malley, who said that not only did Bush meet with her, he listened patiently while she screamed at him and then hugged her while she sobbed. There are many many criticisms I could launch Bush or Obama. But they treated the deaths of soldiers with the seriousness and gravity it deserves. And they both acknowledged that every death and wound was their responsibility.
PS – The “well, he didn’t *call* them so Trump is technically right” thing is the sort of garbage you always get from pathological liars and those who lie for them.
One of the most perverse things I’ve noticed about the Trump presidency is how it inspires people to praise past presidents for stuff that was the absolute bare minimum of what we normally expect in our leaders–simply because Trump fails to meet even that minimum threshold. What we should be focusing on is what a disgusting pig of a human being this man is. Almost everyone knows it, including most Trump supporters–they just manage to twist themselves into a pretzel to come up with rationalizations. It will be a long time before we, as a nation, wipe the stench off.
I was on an airplane to Taiwan for most of the last 24 hours, so I was blissfully unaware of the latest Trump stupidity until I landed and got on the airport Wifi. Sigh.
@Facebones:..What we should be focusing on is what a disgusting pig of a human being this man is.
Racisist, pervert, REPUBLICAN President Donald Trump to Sgt Johnson’s widow: “He knew what he signed up for…”
It’s even worse than all that.
Trump made at least one phone call. He told the widow that her husband knew what he signed up for, but his death hurts anyway.
I think “deranged animal” is an adequate response to this latest outrage, although I wish some stronger description suitable for public airing could be voiced.
@Jc: Not too far off. As Nikki and Mister Bluster point out, he managed to screw up a simple phone call by hauling out the extraordinarily inappropriate phrase “he knew what he signed up for” when speaking to one of the widows.
The Trump supporters attempting to defend his statement by parsing phrases about Gen. Kelly’s call v. invitation to the White House are missing the point.
The PRESIDENTIAL way to respond to the reporter’s question would have been to say “We will call the families when the time is appropriate. These are difficult calls to make, and need to be done with the utmost sensitivity. I will, of course, be sending letters to each family.” That’s it. Full stop.
This idiot’s compulsion to try and drag Obama whenever possible makes him look petulant, immature, deranged, and distinctly unpresidential.
Now–if we can go to the matter Trump is trying to deflect from: why were these four Americans killed? Why did it take nearly 48 hours to find one of them–whose beacon had been activated, indicating he might still have been alive at one point? Why was there no air cover provided? Why were the soldiers in an unarmored vehicle? Why is there now a Pentagon investigation into the matter? The French are angry about the lack of planning that went into this…what, exactly, happened?
Sure sounds to me like Congressional investigation territory. What’s Trey Gowdy up to these days?
Why am I not all shocked that you find dressing and minding your manners to be an enormous struggle. (No travel involved, Kelly was working in DC at the time).
@Jen: Reuters has a story with some of these details. Briefly, the four GreenBerets were with a force from the Niger army when a AQ offshoot attacked a Nigerien unit nearby. An ad hoc rescue was mounted hastily and raced off in unarmored pickup trucks and ran into a much better armed force that was apparently waiting for them. The air assets were French and communications would not allow close support. A better prepared rescue didn’t arrive in time. At least four Nigerien soldiers also died. Wounded taken off by French AF choppers.
Very similar to the death of the Seal Team in Afghanistan a few years ago; they were killed dashing off half-cocked apparently ignorant of the fact that a rescue during a dynamic situation is a very damned complicated business.
@JohnMcC: I am aware–that Reuters piece is from a week or two ago. There are still a lot of unanswered questions. The French air assets were called in after they realized they were in trouble–air cover should have been secured before going in. This was an ambush, and the thing with ambushes is that they are typically planned traps. Which means that, potentially, faulty intelligence is being fed to US forces in the area.
It was a bungled mess, and the Pentagon is investigating. This is a news story, and the president should be asked, frequently, what the hell went wrong. He’s deflecting.
Yep. We used to have standards, however low they might have been.
@Paul L.: What’s funny about this is that Paul is apparently under the impression that Trump speaks in precise language. Obama didn’t “technically” call Kelly’s family. Oh, but did Obama “technically” wiretap Trump’s campaign? You can’t have it both ways, Paul.
I would go the White House if invited no matter who was President..
But as a unsophisticated common citizen, I am not familiar with the protocols and pomp and circumstance of visiting the White House and President. Last time I wore a suit was 6 years ago.
Gen Kelly does not have those problems.
@SC_Birdflyte: “Meshuggener” is exactly the term to describe this person.
@Paul L.: You know you’re twisting this for all it’s worth and you know it’s wrong to do so. No president or cause is worth your integrity.
I am using The Politifact standard for Democrats. Whatever excuses their statements.
Hilary Clinton said she supported Australian Style Gun Control (Gun confiscation) for the US.
After the NRA made a issue of it, Her campaign that she was not familiar with what was done in Australia.
Obama took credit for US oil production going up during his term.
No one in the progressive media called him out that his administration actually hindered US oil production and it went up despite their actions.
That’s absolutely NOT what she said.
If you have to lie to make your point then you don’t have a point to make.
So why don’t you just STFU?
Jesus-Gawd you are a moron.
@Paul L.: US oil production increased for several reasons, one of which was that the price of oil went high enough that investing in more expensive extraction technology made sense economically. It DID go up during his tenure as president.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
Those statements do not contradict.
But the NRA lied.
It is just like I support the 1st amendment but certainly the English/Canadian example of Hate Speech prosecutions is worth looking at,
I am shocked no one here has yet mentioned that the talking Comb-Over dis-respected one of the NIger soldiers that died.
Draft Dodging Donnie:
The wife of the soldier:
The mother of the soldier:
Congresswoman who heard the call, which was on speaker:
Draft Dodging Donnie:
Of course he doesn’t have proof. If he did we would have heard it already. So not only did he do it…but then hhe lied about doing it.
He is, without a doubt, the most pathetic little boy I have ever witnessed. Anyone who voted for him is just as pathetic.
They absolutely contradict; are you able to read?
Let me help you; saying something is worth looking at is NOT the same as supporting it.
Smart people look at things and then make decisions.
You have super strong and unwavering opinions based on what you apparently cannot even begin to understand. I suggest you take some reading remediation courses and begin to re-visit your positions based upon the facts that you are then able to learn, and not simply accept what radical right wing pundits tell you to think.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl: No no, you missed Paul’s version of ‘logic’: If you have two statements, A and B, that do not contradict each other, then they are interchangeable and mean the same thing! So, for example, if I say
A. Maryland is south of Pennsylvania
…and you quote me as instead having said
B. Maryland crabs are better than Virginia peanuts
…then you have attributed that opinion to me correctly, because A and B do not contradict! It’s like magic!
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl: This is just so… Trump. I can just see all this unfolding in that smoking junk heap of a brain. He was sulking because he got called out on not giving a sh*t about those who died for our country. Petulant and angry, he felt forced to make these calls. Incapable of perceiving anything as having meaning beyond himself, he doesn’t bother to even remember the soldiers name. When he talks to the mother, he can’t imagine what she feels at that moment because, well, he is incapable of seeing beyond his own feelings, so he just repeats something that was buzzing around in his head as self justification for not taking responsibility: “He knew what he was getting into.”
And the fact that the person he was talking to was a young black woman? That just exacerbates all of the above. I’m sure he’s pissed that people expect President Donald J. Trump, the bestest President ever, to waste his time on these unimportant people.
So you are saying that “worth looking at” does not mean she does not find the idea appealing or supportable?
It is “worth looking at” what FDR did with the Japaneses in WWII not that does not mean I support putting people into camps.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
Draft-Dodging Donnie is doubling down, per usual:
So the Comb-Over is doing just what he tired to do with Comey; trying to intimidate the witness by threatening to have contradictory proof. Only we now know he didn’t have it with Comey, and you can bet he doesn’t have it now. If he did we would already be hearing it.
But here is the problem…while we are talking about this…we are not finding out what these guys were doing in Niger to begin with. where are all the Republicanists screaming NIGER, like they did with Bhengazi!!!
Appealing and supportable mean different things.
What Australia did is worth looking at because of it’s efficacy. Drastically reducing gun deaths is certainly appealing to sane people. It probably wouldn’t work here, and so is not supportable. None of that absolves the NRA of lying and you being their parrot.
But nice try, you maroon.
@Paul L.: Having worked in politics for a while, I could even argue that “worth taking a look at” means the exact opposite of supporting. Most of the times I heard, “now, that’s an idea worth taking a closer look at” it meant “eh, we’re going to hand this off to the researchers and let them drag out making a decision by burying it under so many competing options no one will remember which direction is up.”
In short “worth taking a closer look at” can mean anything from “sounds interesting, let’s learn more” to “let’s lose this idea but not say it out loud.” And it falls far, far short of active support.
@Paul L.: That’s funny to me because drill ships were and still are booked for many years into the future. They were/are expanding production as much as they can. The biggest limiting factor right now are the corporations themselves. There are many MANY wells drilled and capped waiting to be used. They are just sitting on them for now for strategic reasons.
@Ben Wolf: Wait..Paul L. has integrity? Does he know?
Very good! You get an extra cookie at nap time. Well, except for the extra negative in there that I don’t think you meant.
You originally asserted that Clinton supported Australian-style gun control. When pressed you quoted her, and her words translate roughly as “I haven’t looked at it closely and won’t rule it out yet”. Which is, as I’m sure you’ll agree, not remotely the same as “supporting”.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Australia’s first and last mass shooting was Port Authur. They never had a problem with mass shootings to begin with (outside of government sanctioned mass killings of indigents). Of course if you look you’ll find that mass murder continued to happen after the ban. They just used different weapons (fire/vehicles/knives). For example one person was convicted of starting the Victoria “black saturday” brush fires which killed 173 and injured over 400.