Trump falsely claims Obama didn't call grieving military families

President Trump on Monday falsely suggested he is one of few commanders-in-chief to call the families of fallen U.S. soldiers, and wrongly singled out his predecessor Barack Obama as a leader who never did so.

“The traditional way if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls,” Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“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.”

Minutes later, Trump said he wasn’t sure if his allegation about Obama was true.

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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets President-elect Donald Trump at inauguration ceremonies swearing in Trump as president on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) listens to President-elect Donald Trump in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Republican President-elect Donald Trump (L) during a meeting on transition planning in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 in Washington,DC. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets President-elect Donald Trump in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Republican President-elect Donald Trump (L) during a meeting on transition planning in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 in Washington,DC. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump (L) to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 10: President Barack Obama shakes talks with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, speaks as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump listens during a news conference in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Obama on Thursday met face-to-face with Trump, who spent years questioning the eligibility of the first black U.S. president and now will succeed him. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 10: President Barack Obama shakes talks with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama stand on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with First Lady Melania Trump and Michelle Obamal on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. REUTERS/Rob Carr/Pool
Mike Pence(L), Donald Trump (2nd L), U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden attend inauguration ceremonies swearing in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama exchange words at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC., U.S., January 20, 2017. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. REUTERS/Rob Carr/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) greets former President Barack Obama after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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“I don't know if he did (call),” Trump said.

“I was told he didn't often and a lot of Presidents don't. They write letters...I do a combination of both. Sometimes it's a very difficult thing to do, but I do a combination of both. President Obama I think probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn't. I don't know. That's what I was told.”

Trump was responding to a question about why he has remained silent for days about an ambush in Niger that left four U.S. soldiers dead. It was the deadliest attack on American troops since Trump took office.

Trump said he was “going to call” the families of the fighters and also “wrote letters individually to the soldiers we’re talking about,” which he said would be sent Monday or Tuesday.

Former Obama staffers minced no words in shooting down Trump's attack.

"that's a f---ing lie," Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former White House deputy chief of staff, tweeted.

"to say president obama (or past presidents) didn't call the family members of soldiers KIA [killed in action] - he's a deranged animal," she said.

His claim about Obama and other Presidents ignoring grieving Gold Star families stands no ground.

Obama made at least two high-profile visits to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to see the transfers of slain soldiers. He saluted the return of 15 fallen troops in 2009 and returned two years later to spend more than an hour meeting with about 250 relatives of 30 soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan when their helicopter was shot.

Trump in August 2012 criticized Obama for sending form letters to the families of slain SEALs.

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President Trump, Ivanka visit body of Navy SEAL killed in Yemen
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President Trump, Ivanka visit body of Navy SEAL killed in Yemen
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Marine One with US President Donald Trump flies with a decoy and support helicopters to Dover Air Force Base February 1, 2017 in Dover, Delaware, for the dignified transfer of Navy Seal Chief Petty Officer William 'Ryan' Owens who was killed in Yemen on January 29. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), US Vice President Mike Pence (C) and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner watch from the Rose Garden as Marine One carrying US President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka takes off from the White House in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2017. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base for arrival of remains of a US commando killed William 'Ryan' Owens early January 29, in Yemen during a raid on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard the Marine One to greet the remains of a U.S. military commando killed during a raid on the al Qaeda militant group in southern Yemen on Sunday, at Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Delaware, U.S. February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: Two military aides carry the nuclear football as they prepare to travel with U.S. President Donald Trump on Marine One at the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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“Too busy playing golf? @BarackObama sends form letters with an electronic signature to the parents of fallen SEALs,” Trump tweeted.

The White House confirmed that it mailed out form letters but said Obama personally signed each one.

Trump, by comparison, has traveled to Dover once to see the dignified transfer of Navy SEAL William (Ryan) Owens, the first service member killed during his administration.

Since Owens’ death, Trump has not returned to Dover, and the Twitter-obsessed President has barely acknowledged fallen military members in his tweets.

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