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Trump’s Claim about Obama, Military Families and Fallen Troops Refuted

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During a press conference on Monday, President Trump [for the first time], addressed the deaths of four U.S. service members killed in an ISIS ambush in Niger on October 4.  Trump said he’d written condolence letters to their families, and planned to call them too:

“I’ve written them personal letters. They’ve been sent, or they’re going out tonight, but they were written during the weekend. I will, at some point during the period of time, call the parents and the families — because I have done that, traditionally. I felt very, very badly about that.

I always feel badly. It’s the toughest — the toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed. It’s a very difficult thing. Now, it gets to a point where, you know, you make four or five of them in one day — it’s a very, very tough day. For me, that’s by far the toughest.”

Trump criticizes his predecessors at Monday’s press conference. Photo: The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

For many of the president’s critics, Trump’s response was not presidential, nor was his response to the killing of the U.S. Army servicemen, including three US Green Berets an acceptable answer.  In defense of his actions—Trumped diverted to his predecessors failing to reach out to the families of fallen troops;

“So, the traditional way — if you look at President 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’m able to do it.”

“They have made the ultimate sacrifice.” Making his case the president said, “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. I have — as you know, since I’ve been president, I have.”  “But in addition, I actually wrote letters individually to the soldiers we’re talking about, and they’re going to be going out either today or tomorrow. Yes”

Described by many as one of Trump’s more outrageous accusations, he later walked back his false claims during the press conference when a reporter questioned him on false his claims that previous presidents failed to reach out to the families of fallen service members.

A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, of Lyons, Georgia, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on October 5. Wright was one of four U.S. servicemen killed in an attack by militants in Niger. Courtesy Aaron J. Jenne/U.S. Air Force/Handout via Reuters

Trump’s false claims that previous presidents didn’t do enough to reach out to troops’ families was not only questioned in real time—but also refuted by journalists, former aides, and the families members of fallen troops:

The troops were attacked while they were on a routine patrol in an area known to have a presence of insurgent groups, such as Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and fighters with ties to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). U.S. officials have blamed ISIS-affiliated militants for the attack.

Members of the Obama administration were quick to say that Obama did call the families of soldiers killed during his time in office, referred to as Gold Star families. Alyssa Mastromonaco, the former deputy chief of staff, called Trump’s claim a “f—— lie.”

This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards. Also: Obama never attacked a Gold Star family. https://t.co/JgzTUIzWIa

— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 16, 2017

Former Attorney General Eric Holder fired back at Trump’s claim about Obama—calling for him to “stop the damn lying.”

“I went to Dover AFB with 44 and saw him comfort the families of both the fallen military & DEA.”

Stop the damn lying – you’re the President. I went to Dover AFB with 44 and saw him comfort the families of both the fallen military & DEA. pic.twitter.com/HhE4KbTBkJ

— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) October 17, 2017

Pete Souza: ‘I photographed [President Obama] meeting with hundreds of wounded soldiers, and family members of those killed in action.’ pic.twitter.com/01pICn3YVo

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 16, 2017

This is an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards. Also: Obama never attacked a Gold Star family. https://t.co/JgzTUIzWIa

— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 16, 2017

@realDonaldTrump When my brother was killed, Pres Bush listened while I screamed at him & then held me as I sobbed, you fat fucking liar. https://t.co/SEIw74OeZG

— Delilia O’Malley (@DeliliaOMalley) October 16, 2017

Trump on soldiers killed in Niger: “President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls … I call when it’s appropriate.” pic.twitter.com/sgj5iEuDhz

— Axios (@axios) October 16, 2017

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the criticism on Monday evening, adding that “The president wasn’t criticizing his predecessors at all, he was merely stating a fact.” Driving her point in defense for Trump, she added “Sometimes they call, sometimes they send a letter, other times, they have the opportunity to meet family members in person.”

As with many of the Trumps questionable claims, it appears his sources are just as dubious and were likely taken from the page of the right-wing media. What’s clear for some—Trump’s claims were not based on fact or detailed briefing on how his predecessors reached out to grieving military families.

It seems mostly likely that Trump may have based his assertion on reports about Obama amplified in conservative media. But to make matters worse, rather than just admitting that he didn’t have all the facts, Trump pinned his inaccurate comments on top members of the military. “That’s what I was told,” he said. “All I can do — all I can do is ask my generals.”

Though in the past, some military families have been dissatisfied with the response of previous presidents in the death of their loved ones; it is completely false, to suggest that it’s “traditional” for the president to call the families of fallen service members. However; there is sufficient evidence that President George W. Bush, President Obama, and previous presidents made a conscientious habit of calling, writing, and meeting with military families of fallen troops.

In 2012, allegations surfaced that then-President Obama signed letters to Gold Star families with an auto pen, for which Trump criticized the former president on Twitter.

“Too busy playing golf?” Trump tweeted.

Too busy playing golf? @BarackObama sends form letters with an electronic signature to the parents of fallen SEALs http://t.co/ELKcqTyr

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2012

Amid Trump’s tweets, the Obama’s administration denied the accusations.

“The President personally signs every letter to the families of fallen service members in Iraq and Afghanistan,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor stated at the time. “And he has said many times that it is one of the most difficult parts of his job and a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.”

By the end of August, Trump had also taken three times more leisure time than Obama had, according to The Washington Post, and he had also played golf seven more times than Obama, according to PolitiFact.

The name of the U.S. forces killed in the attack were: Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup Washington; La David Johnson, 25 of Miami Gardens Florida; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia. The four soldiers were members of the 3rd Special Forces Group, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

U.S. forces are deployed in Niger to “provide training and security assistance” to forces targeting violent extremist groups, according to AFRICOM. This includes intelligence and surveillance support, as well as training.

By LeNora Millen     10-17-17

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Business

Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired by Morgan Stanley for Alleged Misconduct

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Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired by the financial services firm Morgan Stanley following allegations of misconduct, NBC confirmed on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley declined to say specifically what prompted the firing. The allegations were presented after a woman who was not employed at the firm accused Mr. Ford of acting inappropriately in a professional setting.

Mr. Ford’s termination reported by HuffPost as an exclusive has been challenged by the former Congressman as “false claims.”

Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired from his position as a managing director at the financial services firm Morgan Stanley for what the company described as behavior “inconsistent with our values.”CreditMike Groll/Associated Press

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Mr. Ford denied the sexual harassment allegations, stating in a tweet on Thursday that he will be bringing legal action against the reporter, for making false claims against him, as well as Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination.

“This simply did not happen,” Mr. Ford wrote. “I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.” He added that socializing with members of the press was part of his job, and said that “false claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.”

Mr. Ford served five terms in Congress as a Democrat representing a Tennessee district after first being elected in 1996—serving as Congressman from 1997 to 207.

He joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and senior client-relationship manager in 2011 as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser at Bank of America.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior toppling key figures in the entertainment and political arena, Mr. Ford is the latest high profiled man to lose his job in recent days for similar allegations.

Time magazine on Wednesday named the “Silence Breakers” its Person of the Year. They shared personal stories about harassment and assault and sparked the #MeToo movement.

According to Time, the #MeToo became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage.

In a tweet acknowledging his thoughts on the “Silence Breaker” quite pointed in his statement, Mr. Ford said the following in regards to news of his firing on Thursday, “This simply did not happen.  I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.”

In another tweet, Mr. Ford spoke about his professional demeanor and his tremendous respect for the brave women speaking out “in this important national dialogue.”  Mr. Ford was pointed in stating that false claims alleged against him “undermine the real “Silence Breakers.”

Mr. Ford appeared as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” MSNBC – which is owned by NBC 4 New York’s parent company.

“We are looking into the report about Harold Ford Jr.,” a spokeswoman for MSNBC said. “During that time he won’t be a guest on MSNBC.”

LeNora Millen            12-7-17

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Business

TV One Cancels Roland Martin’s Morning Show ‘News One Now’

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TV One is canceling Roland Martin’s morning show “News One Now,” Roland made the announcement in a tweet Wednesday.

“Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsnewOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year,” Martin tweeted.

Martin, who thanked audiences for their support, said the last episode will air on Dec. 21.

Roland Martin’s morning show “NewsOne Now” was cancelled due to budget cuts according to various reports from reliable sources.

“They called a meeting on Wednesday and told the staff they were canceling the show. They’re having significant financial problems and they have to scale back,” a source said. “After four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to our viewers as the only black daily newscast on television, the network has made the difficult decision to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show. The last live show is scheduled [Dec. 21],” TV One’s interim GM, Michelle Rice wrote in a memo.

Host of “News One Now” Roland Martin speaks on stage during ColorofChange.org 10 Year Anniversary Gala. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for ColorOfChange)

The news of “NewsOne Now” cancellation shocked Martin and staffers according to sources. The network had recently expanded the morning show to two hours in September.

The memo added: “While we will continue our long-standing partnership with Roland Martin to ensure his important voice can be heard across all Urban One platforms examining issues of importance to the black community, we regret this decision adversely affects several of our valued colleagues whose positions will be eliminated with the suspension of the show.”

The network issued a statement on Twitter that read, “We are committed to providing quality news to our viewers and to our long-standing relationship with @rolandsmartin #NewsOneNow who will continue to have a voice on #TVOne.”

LeNora Millen         12-07-17

 

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Editor Picks

President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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Why declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is so controversial?

The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the United States declares Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would be seen as prejudging that question, deciding an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations and breaking with the international consensus on the holy city.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital also moves the United States one major step closer to relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be seen as cementing Israeli sovereignty over the city.

More from CNN…

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