The Trump White House has reportedly been express mailing condolence letters to Gold Star families months after the deaths occurred.
According to The Atlantic which broke the story Saturday, three families have told the publication that they received rush-delivered messages from the administration this week.
The late service members—Timothy Eckels Jr., Corey Ingram, and John M. Hoagland III— had been killed about two months ago in an accident involving the USS John S. McCain.
At least one of the families has attributed the White House’s move to recent questions over President Trump’s communications with fallen soldiers’ loved ones.
“Honestly, I feel the letter is reactionary to the media storm brewing over how these things have been handled,” Timothy Eckels Sr. told The Atlantic. "I’ve received letters from McCain, Mattis, and countless other officials before his.”
Gold Star father Khizr Khan
Gold Star father Khizr Khan
Gold Star father Khizr Khan, whose son Army Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq saving fellow soldiers, campaigns for Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, and LuAnn Bennett at the Leesburg Coordinated Campaign Office on November 4, 2016 in Leesburg, Virginia.
(Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)
Khizr Khan, whose son, Humayun S. M. Khan was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving in the U.S. Army in the 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, offers to loan his copy of the Constitution to Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, as he speaks while a relative looks on during the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016.
Gold Star father Khizr Khan speaks before introducing U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., November 6, 2016.
Gold-star father Khizr Khan, father of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan who was killed in 2004 in Iraq, takes part in a discussion panel on the Muslim and Refugee ban in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2017.
Gold-Star father Khizr Khan, the father of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War, speaks during a news conference held by House Democrats to introduce legislation "to ensure that no one is denied entry into the United States because of their religion" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington February 2, 2017.
Khizr Khan, and his wife Ghazala (L), whose son, Humayun S. M. Khan was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving in the U.S. Army in the ten years after the 9/11 attacks, appear with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton supporters at her election night rally in New York, U.S., November 9, 2016.
Gold-Star father Khizr Khan, father of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan who was killed in 2004 in Iraq, puts his hand to his heart as he takes part in a discussion panel on the Muslim and refugee ban in the U.S. Capitol in Washington February 2, 2017.
Council on American-Islamic Relations National Executive Director Nihad Awad, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Gold Star father Khizr Khan listen during a news conference in front of the Capitol February 1, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) hosted the press conference to discuss President Donald Trump's travel ban, which prevents immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S, and objections to Senator Jeff Sessions' nomination to the position of Attorney General.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Khizr Khan attends the ACLU SoCal's 2016 Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on November 13, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
Khizr Khan attends the ACLU SoCal's 2016 Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on November 13, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
Khizr Khan, a Virginia Gold Star father, whose son Army Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq, campaigns for Hillary Clinton at Croaker's Spot, a restaurant in Norfolk, Va. on October 26, 2016.
(Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Khizr Khan gestures after speaking in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during election night outside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York on November 8, 2016.
(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Khizr Khan speaks at Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's election night party at Javits Center on November 8, 2016 in New York City.
(Photo by Noam Galai/FilmMagic)
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The controversy for the administration began last week after a reporter asked Trump about his seeming lack of response to U.S. soldiers killed in Niger, and he responded, in part, by saying, “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.”
The following day, Trump stood by his response, saying on a Fox News radio program that he has called “virtually” every family of service members who have died since he took office.
However, since the president made that claim, the Associated Press reported Friday that it tried to contact the families of the 43 service members who have died under his command, and of those who were reached and were willing to respond, at least nine said they had not heard from Trump.