The family of a fallen Marine is publicly denouncing Donald Trump for using their loss to deflect from criticism about his mishandling of the doomed Niger mission that killed four American soldiers.

The sister of a fallen Marine has written a scathing letter to Donald Trump calling him out for using her brother’s death as political cover for his failing administration.

Amber Cox is the sister of Marine Staff Sgt. Robert Cox, one of 16 men who were killed when a Marine Corps transport plane crashed in Mississippi in July. Amber Cox says that she was told that Trump would communicate with her family about the death, but they never received anything until Oct. 16.

Cox says that she believes the letter finally came because Trump was desperately trying to deflect the negative attention he was receiving after the doomed Niger mission that killed four soldiers.

Trump first refused to acknowledge the Niger deaths, then when he did, he drove Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, to tears with a callous phone call.

There continue to be unanswered, serious questions about the failure to provide backup to the mission, how a suspected ISIS affiliate could launch a surprise attack, and why Johnson’s body was separated from the others and possibly mutilated.

“I think that if he had not been receiving a lot of negative attention we would have not gotten a letter,” Cox told USA Today. The letter also misspelled her brother’s name, which she said “isn’t the worst offense, but it’s kind of fuel to the fire.”

Their mother, Paula Murillo, is also angry at Trump. She told the paper, “I know her frustration, and I share her frustration,” adding, “I’m backing her up.”

Military officials told the family that Trump would call them. He never did. Speaking about her son, Murillo said, “That would have meant a lot to me. My son is someone.”

Cox has written a letter addressed to Trump, calling him out for his behavior and for using her brother’s death as political cover.

“On behalf of my brother’s memory, I am exercising my First Amendment right to expose your ulterior motives,” she writes.

“You claim reverence for the brave men and women who serve our country, but your (lack of) reaction to my brother’s death proves that you are in fact an opportunist who capitalizes on patriotism to reap political gains,” Cox continues.

Directly addressing the Niger connection to Trump’s actions, Cox writes:

The suspicious timing of your letter belies the alleged sentiments you express; a carefully calculated reaction to the criticism you were getting for your lack of response (and subsequent sub-par response) to the tragedy in Niger and Gold Star widow Myeshia Johnson. Your half-thought words come packaged like a fraudulent gift in exchange for silence. But I will not allow you to use my brother’s death as a platform to advance your political agenda.

Trump has a problem with the military. Despite his current position as commander in chief, thanks to his election, Trump continually targets the service. He disrespected the flag while on a military base, was flippant about the crash of a Navy destroyer, tried to ban transgender service members, among many other direct offenses to the armed forces.

Like the Johnson family, the Cox family is also fighting back. Trump can’t get away with this behavior completely unscathed, and the military families are on the front lines doing battle with him.

Here is the complete text of Amber Cox’s letter to Donald Trump:

November 2017

Dear Mr. President,

I am the sister of SSgt Robert H. Cox, one of the Marines who was tragically killed in the KC-130 plane crash in Mississippi on July 10th, 2017. It was only a few days ago that I received a letter of condolence from you, over three months after the accident occurred. Until now, the dull Tweet you posted that day was your only acknowledgement of the sacrifice made by my brother and fifteen other men. Accompanied now by this offensively belated letter, I am all the more enraged.

The suspicious timing of your letter belies the alleged sentiments you express; a carefully calculated reaction to the criticism you were getting for your lack of response (and subsequent sub-par response) to the tragedy in Niger and Gold Star widow Myeshia Johnson. Your half-thought words come packaged like a fraudulent gift in exchange for silence. But I will not allow you to use my brother’s death as a platform to advance your political agenda. On behalf of my brother’s memory, I am exercising my first amendment right to expose your ulterior motives.

I am a proud daughter of the common man upon whose back this country was built. We have a wall of honor with the military portraits of our ancestors and a flag that stands 20’ feet high in our front yard. You claim reverence for the brave men and women who serve our country, but your (lack of) reaction to my brother’s death proves that you are in fact an opportunist who capitalizes on patriotism to reap political gains.

My brother was a hero in the truest sense of the word. I don’t need a letter from you or a gold star to know this to be true. I am writing to you on principle, because the President of the United States should never exploit the loss of a Gold Star family in order to mitigate bad optics and deflect media criticism.

Regards,
Amber Cox