White House staffers knew Trump didn’t contact ‘virtually every’ Gold Star family — and scrambled to fix it
During an interview with Fox News Radio earlier this week, President Donald Trump claimed he’d contacted “virtually” every family that lost a military service member since taking office. Now, newly-published internal Pentagon emails have called his bluff.
“I have called, I believe, everybody — but certainly I’ll use the word virtually everybody,” Trump said in the October 17 interview. Soon after, AP contacted 20 Gold Star families and found half hadn’t heard from the president.
According to documents acquired by Roll Call, the president’s aides not only knew he had not contacted as many families as he’d claimed — they also scrambled to get a list of killed American service members as soon as possible to head off controversy. The emails also reveal that the White House “did not even have an up-to-date list of those who had been killed.”
An email whose subject line read “Condolence Letters Since 20 January 2017” sent the evening after the radio interview by Defense Secretary James Mattis’ executive secretary documented the names, death details and contact information for surviving families.
Mohler’s claimed the email was written in response to a request for information from National Security Council aide Ylber Bajraktari.