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Gold Star father who feuded with Trump: Four deaths in Niger turned into 'political football'

The Hill logo The Hill 10/22/2017 Rebecca Savransky
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Video by CBS News

The Gold Star father who feuded last year with President Trump said Sunday that the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger has turned into "political football."

During an interview on CBS's "Face The Nation," Khizr Khan offered his condolences to the families of the soldiers.

Khan said they were serving this nation and will always be remembered as the "best of America."

"They deserve utmost dignity and respect and privacy at this moment," he said.

But Khan said that hasn't happened, adding the tragedy has become a "political football."

Khan also criticized John Kelly, saying the White House chief of staff "should have refrained from doing exactly the same thing what he was complaining about."

Kelly "indulged in defending behavior of the president and made the situation even worse" instead of advising Trump that restraint and dignity would be the best response, Khan said.

Trump spurred controversy last week after he claimed former President Obama and other past presidents didn't call the families of fallen soldiers.

Later that week, a Democratic lawmaker described a phone call between Trump and the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger.

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) said she was in the car with the fallen soldier's family when Trump called. She said Trump told the soldier's widow that Johnson "knew what he signed up for...but when it happens it hurts anyway."

Trump has since pushed back against Wilson's claims. Last Thursday, Trump accused Wilson of lying about the content of the call after "secretly" listening in. He has since referred to the Florida Democrat as "wacky" and called her the "gift that keeps on giving" for the GOP.

Kelly last week also gave an emotional press conference in which he said he was "stunned" by Wilson's negative description of the call.

"I would have thought that was sacred," Kelly said.

Gold Star father who feuded with Trump: Four deaths in Niger turned into 'political football' © Provided by The Hill Gold Star father who feuded with Trump: Four deaths in Niger turned into 'political football'

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