While the President denies the story, many point to his on-camera attacks to war hero John McCain for being “captured.”
A story published by The Atlantic on Thursday evening is rocking the presidential campaign. According to the report—which is said to be based on four people with firsthand knowledge of the conversation—in 2018 President Trump declined to participate in a scheduled visit to the Aisne-Marne American cemetery near Paris, where more than 2,200 Americans who fought in World War I are buried, saying, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”
Jennifer Griffin, the National Security Correspondent for Fox News, is confirming offensive remarks made by the president regarding the military by speaking to the sources in the Atlantic article. In a series of tweets, Griffin said that two former senior Trump admin officials confirmed the article. She said, among other things, “This former official heard the President say about American veterans: ‘What’s in it for them? They don’t make any money.’ Source: ‘It was a character flaw of the President. He could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it.'”
In a separate conversation during the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives fighting the German Army at the Belleau Wood battle—which is considered “an enduring symbol for the Marine Corps” and a pivotal moment in World War I— “suckers” for getting killed.
The official reason the White House gave for the cancellation at the time was that “the helicopter couldn’t fly,” but the report also adds that Trump was concerned that his hair would get messy in the rainy weather.
On Thursday night, Trump angrily rejected the story, saying to reporters: “What animal would say such a thing?”
But many have pointed to his disparaging comments about certain veterans in the past, including his 2015 attacks on then-Senator John McCain for being captured and held prisoner in Vietnam. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said during his presidential campaign, in a tirade in which he also called him a “loser.”
“I like people who weren’t captured,” he concluded.
The article pointed to other offensive remarks by the president, including when he said that the military killed in battle were “suckers.” Trump also said he didn’t want wounded veterans at a 2018 White House planning meeting because “spectators would feel uncomfortable in the presence of amputees. ‘Nobody wants to see that,’ he said.”
In related news, USA Today reports that the Pentagon has ordered to shut down the military publication Stars and Stripes, which has been in production since the Civil War. This news comes days after a poll showed that a majority of military service members are voting for Joe Biden.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This story has been updated to include Jennifer Griffin, the National Security Correspondent for Fox News, is confirming offensive remarks made by the president regarding the military by speaking to the sources in the Atlantic article.