WH: 'Appalling and Disgusting' for Congresswoman to Politicize Widow's Talk with Trump

Sanders Responds To Widow Phone Call Uproar

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders didn't deny Wednesday that Trump told a grieving widow of a slain soldier that "he must have known what he signed up for", but characterized the call as "respectful".

Speaking at the White House, Mr Kelly confirmed on Thursday that Mr Obama had not called, but he made clear "that's not a criticism".

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, who reached the agreement with Democratic Senator Patty Murray, said earlier that Trump had "completely engineered" the proposal.

Wilson, who listened in on the call via speakerphone, said on CNN's "New Day" Wednesday morning that Trump didn't know the name of the service member and that his widow "broke down" after her call with the President.

In a rare and emotional moment from the White House briefing room podium, Kelly condemned Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., for listening to that phone call and then criticizing the president's tone in the press. Kelly's son, 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 when he stepped on a land mine.




The aunt of an Army sergeant killed in Niger says Trump showed "disrespect" to the soldier's loved ones as he telephoned them to extend condolences. "I just thought that might be sacred". The only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go walk among the finest men or women on this Earth.

The back-and-forth is the product of an episode from earlier this week, when a reporter asked Trump at a Monday press conference why he had not publicly mentioned the soldiers killed in the Niger ambush. "I think it is appalling what the congresswoman has done in the way she's politicized this issue and the way that she is trying to make this about something that it isn't". "He said to me, 'What can I say?' I said to him, 'Sir, there is nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families'".

Kelly called Wilson's behavior "selfish" and indicated she had eroded the standards of decency in America.

Trump came under fire Monday after saying - in response to a question about the soldiers killed in Niger - that Obama and other former presidents had not made calls to the families of fallen soldiers. He knew what the possibilities were because we are at war. And you can always find them. Kelly said Trump basically followed his advice to deliver the above message.

"I didn't hear the whole phone call, but I did hear him say, 'I'm sure he knew what he was signing up for, but it still hurts, '" she recalled, sparking another round of controversy.

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