Frankly, it’s sad that this has become an issue. Arguing about whether President Trump was somber enough when he made the gesture to reach out to loved ones of fallen soldiers is silly. It’s not like he lied to the family’s faces about their deaths as others have. Nor did President Trump make inappropriate comments about a fallen American’s “balls” as former Vice President Joe Biden did.
I won’t get into the debate about whether the President acted appropriately on that call or not. There are witnesses on all sides disagreeing. The massive emotional toll of losing someone is likely clouding perceptions. Which is understandable. The media choosing to make this a story is truly revolting.
The Associated Press ran a piece on this controversy in which they make a startling claim.
Trump started the storm this week when he claimed that he alone of U.S. presidents had called the families of all slain soldiers.
Here’s a screenshot in case they edit the article in the future:
President Trump made no such claim. Here’s what he really said:
“If you look at President [Barack] 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 am able to do it,” said Trump. “They have made the ultimate sacrifice. So generally I would say that I like to call. I’m going to be calling them. I want a little time to pass. I’m going to be calling them.”
He later added to this statement after initial criticism started.
“I don’t know if he (President Obama) did. No, no, no,” said Trump. “I was — I was told that he didn’t often, and a lot of presidents don’t. They write letters.”
Here’s the video:
Criticizing President Trump’s comparison of his actions to those of previous presidents is appropriate. What isn’t appropriate is for the nation’s largest news service, the AP, to lie to their readers about what President Trump said. He never made the claim that he was the only president to make those calls, or that he was the only president to call every fallen soldier’s family.
The AP wasn’t alone in peddling this fake news. ABC, Time, MSNBC, and CNN all did the same, among others. Some outlets focused on Trump seeming to infer that President Obama never made any of those calls. While that is partisan nitpicking considering the President’s near immediate clarification, it’s at least relevant to look at. It is, however, a bald-faced lie to say President Trump claimed he was the only president to make those calls as the AP did.