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Kelly blames Democrat for politicising Trump's call to widow of slain soldier

WASHINGTON: White House chief of staff John Kelly - a former general whose son died in Afghanistan - made an emotive defence of Donald Trump yesterday, amid a scandal over the president's phone call with a military widow.

Mr Kelly said he had advised Mr Trump not to call the families of four servicemen killed in Niger personally, but was disgusted by how the issue had become politicised. He blamed Democratic lawmaker Frederica Wilson, who made public the contents of a call between Mr Trump and widow Mrs Myeshia Johnson.

Mr Trump kicked off the furore early this week by falsely claiming that Mr Barack Obama and other former US leaders did not call the families of fallen soldiers.

It was then alleged that during a call, Mr Trump had offended the pregnant widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, 25, who was one of four US soldiers killed in a jihadist ambush on Oct 4.

Mr Kelly said he had advised Mr Trump not to make calls to the families of the fallen soldiers: "My first recommendation was he not do it. Because it's not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to."

But after taking advice, Mr Kelly said Mr Trump "called... and expressed his condolences in the best way he could."- AFP

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