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Trump Sparks Controversy With Tweets After Navy Deaths

Rather than tweeting about news that seven American sailors had died after a crash off the coast of Japan, President Donald Trump tweeted about his approval ratings, comparing them to those of former President Barack Obama.

Trump did not acknowledge the June 17 news that the U.S. Navy announced the deaths of seven sailors after a destroyer crashed into a merchant ship near the Japanese coast on his Twitter page, Indy100 reports.

He had previously tweeted about the USS Fitzgerald that morning, offering "thoughts and prayers" and thanking the Japanese for their help, but did not comment after the news that their bodies had been found.

"This loss is something we all feel," said Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, who commands the Navy's 7th fleet, CNN reports. "We have found a number of the remains ... of our missing shipmates, and our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those shipmates."

According to Aucoin, the ship had been sinking, but the "heroic efforts" of the crew helped stop it as they fought "very hard to keep the ship afloat."

No one on the other vessel in the collision, known as the ACX Crystal container ship, was injured, and none of the oil from the ship was spilled.

While news about the deceased sailors was breaking, Trump tweeted about his "Make America Great Again" agenda and an approval rating poll from Rasmussen Reports.

"The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt," the president tweeted. "Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm ... Massive regulation cuts, 36 new legislative bills signed, great new S.C. Justice, and Infrastructure, Healthcare and Tax Cuts in the works!"

"The new Rasmussen poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% approval rating," tweeted Trump. "That's higher than [Obama's] #'s!"

Trump's interpretation of the poll's result does not appear to be correct, reports Time. While the Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll indeed gave Trump a 50 percent approval rating on June 16, Obama's number in the same poll on June 16, 2009, at the same point in his presidency, was 56 percent.

Other polls reportedly gave Trump significantly lower numbers than Rasmussen's 50 percent. The June 13 Gallup daily tracking poll showed Trump with a 36 percent approval rating. The Real Clear Politics average from the same time frame estimated Trump's approval rating to be around 40 percent, according the Los Angeles Times.

Users on Twitter noticed Trump's lack of comment on the USS Fitzgerald news.

"On a day when 7 sailors have been found dead & children have lost fathers... it's good 2 know Trump's priority is his polls and witch hunts," tweeted one user.

On June 19, Trump tweeted again about the USS Fitzgerald, including a link to a news release about the sailors' deaths.

"Doesn't count when you had to be reminded a million times," reads one of the replies to Trump's tweet.

Sources: Indy100, Time, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Donald J. Trump/Twitter (2) (3) (4) / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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