On Tuesday, President Trump dragged White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's son Robert Kelly, a Marine lieutenant killed in Afghanistan in 2010, into his evolving explanation for why it took him 12 days to acknowledge the deaths of four U.S. servicemembers in Niger or contact their families. On Tuesday night's AC360, Anderson Cooper began his analysis with Kelly's documented reluctance to politicize his son's death.
"In everything he said and did not say back then, and everything he's said and done since then, Gen. Kelly has refused to make the shared sacrifice of so many about his own personal loss," Cooper said. "Well, this morning, President Trump took Gen. Kelly's deeply private, searing, and eternal loss and made it about his own momentary personal gain." Trump had suggested that former President Barack Obama had not called Kelly with condolences, a point the White House aggressively pursued with the media.
"President Obama, like Presidents Bush, Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Reagan, and others before them honored the fallen in many ways — phone calls, letters, witnessing the caskets coming home, visiting the wounded," Cooper noted. "They did so frequently, often without bringing reporters along. None of them, Republicans and Democrats alike, wanted it to be about themselves, until now." Trump, "in his mind, simply cannon be wrong," he added, suggesting a motive for Trump stooping to this new level. "And that gives him license, it seems, for a lot," including bringing "his chief of staff's profoundest personal loss into the public realm." Watch below. Peter Weber
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized one of the soldiers' Army role. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.