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Gold Star families receive condolence letters from Trump months after sons' deaths: report
At least three families of service members killed months ago said that they have now received rush-delivered condolence letters from President Trump.
The families told The Atlantic that they are now receiving letters from Trump after he faced criticism for not calling the families of fallen service members, after claiming he had done so. Many of the letters, according to The Atlantic, were sent next-day by UPS.
Timothy Eckels' son was killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker on Aug. 21, but Eckels said he didn't receive a letter from Trump until Oct. 20 - two days into the controversy over Trump contacting the families of fallen soldiers.
"Honestly, I feel the letter is reactionary to the media storm brewing over how these things have been handled," Eckels told The Atlantic.
"I've received letters from McCain, Mattis, and countless other officials before his. I wasn't sure if the fact that the accident that caused Timothy's death has still yet to officially have the cause determined played into the timing of our president's response."
Eckels added that the letter was "respectful" and "seemed genuine and even mentioned Timothy's siblings."
The families of two other Navy service members killed in the McCain collision - Corey Ingram and John M. Hoagland III - told The Atlantic that they also received rush-delivered letters this week.
The White House declined to answer The Atlantic's questions about Trump contacting the families of fallen military members.
"The president and the nation are grateful for the service and sacrifice of our fallen American heroes," a White House official told The Atlantic."We have addressed the president's outreach to the families extensively and out of respect, we are not going to comment further."
The White House reportedly rushed to obtain an accurate list of all U.S. soldiers who have died this year after Trump claimed to have called the families of "virtually everybody" who died serving in the military.
"The White House ensured that the President had contacted all families of soldiers killed in action that had been presented to him through existing protocols," a White House spokesman told The Hill.