General Kelly Speaks About Loss of Son in 2016 Then Commander, US Southern Command, Marine General John Kelly speaks about the loss of his son at a press briefing in January 2016. Rarely do we hear a remark from a commander-in-chief that is as off-key and seemingly thoughtless as President Trump’s comment on Tuesday about the combat death of his chief of staff’s son in 2010. Speaking on talk radio, Trump was fending off criticism that he was remiss in failing to call the families of the four U.S. Army soldiers who were killed in Niger last week. He lashed out and claimed that President Obama had also failed to call the families of service members (a claim of questionable veracity). Then, in a stunning turn, he invoked the death of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly’s son, 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, who was killed when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan in November 2010. “I mean, you could ask General Kelly: Did he get a call from Obama? You could ask other people. I don’t know what Obama’s policy was” Trump said on the radio. Kelly has spoken in a deeply personal and heart-wrenching way about how he, as a lifelong military professional, dealt with the death of his son. Like every other gold-star parent, Kelly deserves to have his fallen child left out of Washington politics.