That time John Kelly dined with Obama, though White House said he didn't call

Trump used his chief of staff's fallen son as a political prop, but didn't even get the facts right

Published October 17, 2017 3:27PM (EDT)

John Kelly (AP/Luis Soto)
John Kelly (AP/Luis Soto)

President Donald Trump's White House tried to exploit the death of the son of his chief of staff, John Kelly, to score political points, but his administration scored on itself instead.

It started on Monday, when Trump made the completely false claim that his predecessors, including Barack Obama, did not phone the families of soldiers after they had been killed in battle. On Tuesday he doubled down, saying Obama never called Kelly when his son was killed.

"You could ask Gen. Kelly," Trump said. "Did he get a call from Obama?" Trump did not ask Kelly, whose son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Nor did Kelly make a comment on the record. Instead, an "unnamed official" at the White House said that Obama didn't call Kelly.

But Kelly, whose son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, attended a 2011 White House breakfast for Gold Star families with his wife. The two were seated at first lady Michelle Obama's table, NBC's Peter Alexander reported.

Kelly has not responded to any of the claims, but if he had, he may have mentioned the 2011 breakfast, or a ceremony Kelly went to the following year. 

It's unclear what evidence there was — if there was any evidence whatsoever — to support the White House's claim that Kelly was neglected.

This is your reminder that the Trump administration has a habit of decrying anonymous sources as "fake news," even though some of these stories have not been denied by administration officials — at the same time the administration has been perfectly happy to use anonymous sources to push falsehoods.

By Charlie May

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Barack Obama Donald Trump Gold Star Parents John Kelly