President Obama's deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes pushed back at President Trump Monday for suggesting his boss did not do a good enough job reaching out to fallen soldiers' families. Trump accused Obama and other former presidents of not making the tough, but traditional phone calls to families who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“So the traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls,” Trump said. “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.”
Rhodes, responding on Twitter, not only defended his former boss, but reminded Trump about his public spat with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim soldier who was killed in Iraq.
Rhodes also shared an old New York Times report that detailed Obama's quiet trips to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He made these visits, the Times reported, with a "minimum of ceremony."
With a minimum of ceremony, the president’s motorcade pulled up to a side entrance, where a military aide met him with the latest update on the conditions of those he was about to see. He then climbed four flights of stairs to 4 West and 4 Center, known as the soldiers ward. After greeting the doctors and nurses on duty, he began his rounds, eventually meeting 13 soldiers and awarding 12 Purple Hearts.
For Mr. Obama, who has served as a wartime commander longer than any of his predecessors, meeting with the wounded and their families is among the most sacred duties of his presidency. He rarely talks about his trips to Walter Reed, but his aides say they have affected him deeply.
Trump too has visited Walter Reed, where he has awarded Purple Hearts to some of our wounded warriors.
Whether we witness it on camera or not, our commanders in chief obviously care about our troops. You probably have to some level of respect for them if you want to be leader of the free world. First Lady Laura Bush shared last year that having the responsibility of our young men and women overseas kept her and her husband up many nights. I imagine that has been the case with all presidents.