What Trump’s Military Lies Say About His Character

At a press conference on Monday, President Donald Trump caused a stir when he claimed that Barack Obama and “most” other presidents didn’t bother to call the families of U.S. soldiers killed in the line of duty.

Trump’s assertion is about as incorrect as it is despicable. Though Obama’s spokesperson declined to comment on this matter, Benjamin Rhodes, his former deputy national security advisor took to Twitter to say, “This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards.”

As Politifact notes, it’s difficult to say how many calls to dead soldiers’ families Obama made since this type of correspondence is generally considered private and not discussed in the media. However, there is ample evidence that Obama reaches out to these families in some form or another, be it by phone or letter.

I know that no one’s going to shout stop the presses (though Trump would like for that to happen, wouldn’t he?) over yet another lie coming from this commander-in-chief, but it’s time to look at how this lie came about in the first place. It’s not a calculated, strategic lie meant to push a larger agenda, it’s an ill-conceived, on-the-spot lie that could be debunked pretty much immediately.

Moments like this go to show what a compulsive liar the president is. As he’s babbling, he thinks of a way to try to inflate his own reputation while putting down the work of previous administrations down and just goes ahead and says it, facts and reality be damned.

We know he knew it was a lie at the time, because when a little while later a reporter followed up to clarify this assertion, Trump said, “I don’t know if he did. I was told he didn’t often… President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t.”

So first Trump admits he doesn’t actually know, then concedes Obama probably did call families, but maybe sometimes he didn’t. None of that explains why he previously declared that Obama never engaged with these families.

Trump likes to say what makes him feel good in the moment. It felt great to say he was more patriotic than his predecessors, so he went ahead and did it.

The compulsive part of his lying reemerged the following day when reporters continued to ask him about this lie. By then, Trump knows his claim has been proven false, but not wanting to take the heat, he does what feels good in the moment again – this time doubling down by challenging a journalist to “ask General Kelly” whether he got a call from the president when his military son died.

If Obama did not call Kelly directly, he did host him at a breakfast he held for Gold Star families at the White House, and even had Kelly sit at Michelle Obama’s table. For Trump to continue pushing a narrative that Obama is callous to dead soldiers is… well, callous in itself.

Though we tend to have higher expectations for the president of the United States, most of us have dealt with a compulsive liar or two in our regular lives. At a certain point, you can’t trust anything that comes out of that person’s mouth because if they’re willing to blatantly lie about trivial things, what won’t they lie about?

We’re dealing with a president who is willing to squander all credibility so that he can make petty attacks against political figures who poll much higher than him. There’s going to come a point in his administration when Trump needs the American people to trust his words and his judgment, and he’ll have sadly blown that sense of loyalty over irrelevant issues.

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey


JT Smith
Past Member 4 months ago

Brian F is correct about Bernie Sanders and the Democratic party. I'm not referring to what anyone here makes financially as I honestly don't care. If people can and prefer to make financial contributions, cool. If people prefer volunteering their time, also cool.

JT Smith
Past Member 4 months ago

Father served in the US Army at the end of the Korean War. Even though he died in January of 2015, we received a letter signed by Barrack Obama thanking him posthumously for his service. I know because I have a copy of it framed and hanging in my quarters. I'd include a picture of it in this comment if I could.

Regus Slantei
Regus S4 months ago

Two words, Brian:



Mike R
Mike R4 months ago


Brian F
Brian F4 months ago

Rhoberta E Then why don't you support honest progressives Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders, who support progressive policies that we desperately need like single payer universal healthcare, instead of defending a corrupt corporate Democratic party that cheated Bernie Sanders out of his primary, and caused this fraud Trump to be elected.

Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E4 months ago

brian f
Let us know YOUR pay scale for what you do. I'm sure both Pam and I have better things to do like getting out in our communities and actually DOING something positive. You should try it

Brian F
Brian F5 months ago

pam w How much does Tom Perez the extremely corrupt head of the DNC, who fired all the honest progressive Bernie Sanders supporters, so the Democrats can continue their corruption, and block Bernie Sanders from power, pay you.

Roberto M
Roberto M5 months ago

Trump is not a good president

ERIKA S5 months ago


pam w
pam w5 months ago

Brian/Steve....how much are you paid to post these ''talking points?" Is it the GOP hand up your colon? Or Putin's?