President Trump seemed to politicize the calling of the families of fallen soldiers Monday when he was asked about four US servicemen killed in an ambush in Niger last week. Trump, speaking at a White House press conference, said he plans to call their families as he has done "traditionally," the Hill reports. He said such calls are the toughest he has to make and added: "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." When pressed on the claim, he walked it back, saying Obama "probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn't. I don’t know. That's what I was told."
Trump said he liked to do a combination of letters and calls. He said he had written to the families of those killed in Niger and the letters would be sent out that night, reports the Washington Post reports. In a tweet, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Obama's former deputy chief of staff, called Trump a liar and a "deranged animal." Freddy Ford, a spokesman for George W. Bush, tells the AP that the former president "wrote all the families of the fallen," even at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when more than 800 were dying each year. He says Bush also called or met with "hundreds, if not thousands" of their relatives. Later Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had been "stating a fact," not criticizing predecessors.