President Trump has spoken to the families of all four U.S. soldiers who were killed in an ambush in the West African country of Niger earlier this month.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that Trump “offered condolences on behalf of a grateful nation and assured them their families’ extraordinary sacrifice to the country will never be forgotten.”
Trump said in a news conference Monday that he had written letters to the families and planned to call them, crediting himself with taking extra steps in honoring the dead properly. “Most of them didn’t make calls,” he said of his predecessors. He said it’s possible that Obama “did sometimes” but “other presidents did not call.”
The comments provoked visceral reactions by former staffers in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, many of whom recounted face-to-face meetings between commanders-in-chief and the families of fallen soldiers.
The U.S. troops killed in Niger Oct. 4 were patrolling in unarmored trucks with Nigerien troops when their convoy was attacked by militants thought to be affiliated with ISIS.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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