Just hours after Donald Trump claimed during a Fox News Radio interview on Tuesday that he had called “virtually” all of the Gold Star military families who had lost a serviceman this year, an internal Defense Department e-mail indicated a different story. The e-mail from the White House asked the Pentagon for the identities and contact information of every family of a deceased service member who had been killed in action since this January, according to Roll Call. The White House was rushing to legitimize Trump’s statement, which his senior White House aides knew was incorrect—because they didn’t even have an up-to-date list of casualties.
Capt. Hallock Mohler, executive secretary to Defense Secretary James Mattis, answered the e-mail, providing the names and contact information, including phone numbers, of the families in a missive with the subject line, “Condolence Letters Since 20 January 2017.” He explained that he was trying to figure out which family members Trump had yet to contact. Of the twenty families the Associated Press asked if they had been contacted by the president, half of them said no.
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