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Anderson Cooper slams Trump for invoking Kelly's son's death to defend himself

CNN host Anderson Cooper tore into President Trump for bringing the death of his chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE’s son into politics.

Cooper said that Trump’s mentions of Kelly’s son’s death in Afghanistan is contrary to Kelly’s own wishes.

He noted that Kelly, a retired Marine general, had requested that others not mention his son, even as the general gave a speech just days after he was killed serving in Afghanistan.

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“Gen. Kelly has refused to make the shared sacrifice of so many about his own personal loss,” Cooper said.

Cooper said Trump had invoked Kelly's son's death to defend himself after he falsely claimed that past presidents, and specifically former President Obama, hadn't called the families of fallen soldier.

The anchor noted that former commanders in chief, including Obama, had honored fallen soldiers “in many ways” and “did so frequently, often without bringing reporters along.”

“None of them, Republicans and Democrats alike, wanted it to be about themselves. Until now,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that changed when Trump falsely claimed that Obama hadn’t called the families of fallen soldiers after reporters asked him why he hadn't yet called the families of four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month.

“And now the president, who avoided serving in Vietnam multiple times yet says his wartime experience dodging VD was just like combat, has brought his chief of staff’s profoundest personal loss into the public realm because he simply cannot be wrong," Cooper said.

“It would be one thing if he were the one to lose his son in combat. It’s another when he’s not.”

Trump faced heavy criticism for falsely claiming that Obama didn’t call the families of fallen soldiers.

Trump defended his claim Tuesday by asking reporters if Obama had called Kelly after Kelly’s son’s death.

While Obama did not make a call to Kelly at the time, he did invite Kelly and his wife to a breakfast with other Gold Star families.

Trump called the families of the soldiers killed in Niger on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after the fatal ambush.