The Washington Post, in a 2011 profile of Kelly, reported that the general asked a Marine Corps officer not to mention his son's death when he was introduced at a St. Louis event days after his son was killed.
"If you look at President Obama and other presidents, majority didn't make calls", he said, "a lot of them didn't make calls".
"The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed", Trump said, answering a question about four U.S. Special Ops troops killed in Niger two weeks ago.
"They've been sent, or they're going out tonight, but they were written during the weekend", Trump said.
Kelly's son Robert died when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010.More news: Iraqi, Kurdish Troops In Tense Standoff As Deadline Nears
It didn't take long for those who worked in previous administrations - Democrat and Republican - to pounce on Trump's comments. After saying he had written letters to the families and planned to call them next week, he criticized former presidents.
While Obama's former staff members have grown used to Trump's jibes about the "failure" of the Affordable Care Act or the "disastrous" Iran nuclear deal, they lashed out at his remarks Monday with unusual bitterness.
Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former senior aide to Obama, tweeted that it was "a (expletive) lie" and called Trump a "deranged animal".
Former officials from the Obama White House quickly emphasized that Trump's statement was not true and Obama routinely called families of soldiers killed in the field. "I can tell you, my policy is I have called every one of them".
"I don't know if he did", he said of Mr Obama.
"I also photographed him meeting with hundreds of wounded soldiers, and family members of those killed in action", he wrote.More news: Brexit: UK and European Union 'move heaven and earth' to protect NI
The breakfast, hosted by the Obamas, was scheduled six months after the death of General Kelly's son.
The record is plain that presidents reached out to families of the dead and to the wounded, often with their presence as well as by letter and phone.
Trump was called out on the claim a few minutes later by NBC News White House Correspondent Peter Alexander, and he backtracked on the comments. I don't know what Obama did.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later that President Trump "wasn't criticising predecessors, but stating a fact".
When Lonny Wells, 29, of Vandergrift, was killed in Iraq in 2004, his family received letters from numerous government officials, but no personal letter from the president, said John Lattanzi, longtime boyfriend of Wells' mother, Yvonne Lynn Wells.More news: How The Media Is Giving Kim Kardashian Body Dysmorphia
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