What's happening in the political world:
Trump faces backlash over fallen soldier remarks
-- President Trump's comments about past presidents reaching out to the families of fallen soldiers has sparked a firestorm, with many calling the claims false.
During a media briefing at the White House Monday, Trump was asked about waiting for nearly two weeks before publicly commenting on an incident in Niger that killed four U.S. Special Forces members.
Trump took the question as an opportunity to compare himself to his predecessors when it comes to getting in touch with the loved ones of fallen soldiers.
"The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls, a lot of them didn't make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate, when I think I'm able to do it," Trump said.
Trump later added, "I don't know if he (Obama) did. I was told that he didn't often, and a lot of presidents don't, they write letters."
Ex-Obama staffers leaped to defend their former boss, who did in fact call some of the families of soldiers killed in action, as did his immediate predecessors.
Stop the damn lying - you’re the President. I went to Dover AFB with 44 and saw him comfort the families of both the fallen military & DEA. pic.twitter.com/HhE4KbTBkJ
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) October 17, 2017
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said Trump was "stating a fact" that presidents pay their respects to fallen soldiers in different ways. She also said claims that former presidents called every family of fallen soldiers are mistaken.
Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, who served under Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, tweeted in response to Trump's statements: "POTUS 43 & 44 and first ladies cared deeply, worked tirelessly for the serving, the fallen, and their families. Not politics. Sacred Trust."
Marino withdraws from drug czar consideration
-- Rep. Tom Marino withdrew his name from consideration to become the country's next drug czar, according to a Tuesday morning tweet by President Trump.
The president said of the Pennsylvania Republican:
Rep.Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2017
The congressman's withdrawal comes after a joint CBS "60 Minutes" and Washington Post report revealed that Marino took nearly $100,000 from the pharmaceutical lobby while sponsoring a bill that made it easier for drug companies to distribute opioids across American communities and thwart the Drug Enforcement Agency.
At a Rose Garden news conference on Monday, Trump said he would look into the report and spoke warmly of Marino.
"He was a very early supporter of mine, the great state of Pennsylvania," Trump said. "He is a great guy. I did see the report. We are going to look into the report. We are going to take it very seriously."
McCain speaks on "spurious nationalism" in Liberty Medal speech
-- In a lofty and at moments pointed speech, Sen. John McCain on Monday cautioned against the U.S. turning toward "half-baked, spurious nationalism" during an event honoring the war hero's contributions.
Reflecting on his decades-long political history, McCain warned that to "fear" the world the U.S. has led for the better part of a century, "abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe" and "refuse the obligations of international leadership ... for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems" is unpatriotic.
"As unpatriotic," he continued, "as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history."
The remarks came after McCain was honored with the Liberty Medal by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, months after being diagnosed in July with an aggressive form of brain cancer.
CNN and Newsy contributed to this report