Donald Trump canceled a tribute visit to a military cemetery outside Paris in 2018 because he said the soldiers who died were “losers” and “stupid” and he didn’t want the rain to spoil his hair, according to a new report.
At the time, Trump explained the cancellation by saying his helicopter could not fly in the rain and the Secret Service would not take him to the American cemetery Aisne-Marne, where 1,800 US Navy soldiers who died during the first world war battle at Belleau Wood are buried.
Neither public claim is true, according to “four people with firsthand knowledge of the chat of the day” quoted in a new report by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic magazine.
“Why do I have to go to that grave? It is filled with losers,” Trump was quoted as saying in the report, quoted by The Guardian, Friday (4/9).
Trump also called military members who died “stupid” because they could be killed.
Trump also asked his aides, “Who are the good people in this war?” and don’t understand why the US is meddling on the side of the allies.
Trump: Fake News
But then Trump denied the report via Twitter.
“I have never called a great soldier who died other than HEROES,” he wrote.
“This is more of Fake News caused by disgusting failure & jealousy as a shameful attempt to influence the 2020 elections!”
On Friday, The Washington Post supplemented the report, citing “former senior administration officials” as saying Trump “frequently made comments disparaging veterans and soldiers who disappeared on the job, referring to them sometimes as ‘losers.'”
The Post quoted “someone familiar with the chat” as saying that Trump told his senior advisers he did not understand why the US government appreciated finding soldiers missing on duty “because they had performed poorly and were caught and deserved what they got.”
On Thursday, Trump himself told reporters the story was a hoax.
“To think that I would make a negative statement to our military and the heroes who died when no one did what I did (for the US armed forces,” Trump said.
“That’s totally a lie. It’s embarrassing.”
Support for Trump among members of the military appeared to have declined prior to the new report. Trump has a favorite rating of minus-12 (38-50) among military members, according to a recent Military Times poll – down from plus-9 (46-37) at the start of his term.
Trump has a long history of making comments that disparage or insult members of the military and insult family members of fallen soldiers.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump attacked the family of gold stars Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son Captain Humayun Khan was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004.The pair spoke at the 2016 Democratic Party national convention in protest of Trump’s attacks on Muslims, saying Trump doesn’t understand their son’s duty or their sacrifice.
Call John McCain a Loser
Trump has clashed with the late senator John McCain, a naval pilot who was held prisoner of war and tortured in a Vietnamese prison, where he was held for more than five years. Trump is furious that McCain publicly criticized him and rejected Republican attempts to overturn Barack Obama’s health care legislation.
“He is a war hero because he was arrested,” Trump said during the presidential election. “I like people who are not arrested.”
“He lost and let us down,” Trump added. “I never liked him after that. I don’t like losers. ”
The humiliation escalated to anger after McCain’s death in 2018. “We will not support the funeral of that loser,” Trump said, according to the Atlantic report.
When Trump saw the flag lowered to half-mast, he reportedly said: “What are we doing that for? The man is a loser.”
But on Thursday night Trump wrote on Twitter, “I never called John a loser,” and Trump denied objections to McCain’s funeral being carried out militarily.
“The lowering of our American Flag of our Nation, and the first-class funeral he gives our Country, must be approved by me, as president, and I do so without hesitation or complaint,” he tweeted.
Trump tweeted news coverage in 2015 about his call to the so-called “loser” McCain. Trump also called former president George HW Bush a “loser” for being shot down by Japan as a naval pilot in world war two, Atlantic reported.