2020-09-04 16:23:09 UTC
President Donald Trump called American soldiers who died on French soil during
World War I losers during a trip to France in 2018, according to multiple
sources cited by The Atlantic. The comments, reportedly made ahead of a planned
visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery that was ultimately canceled and
blamed on bad weather, were part of a pattern of the Commander in Chief
badmouthing slain service members.
Trump later referred to World War I Marines who were killed at Belleau Wood,
where American and allied troops successfully halted the German advance towards
Paris in 1918, as suckers for dying at at the hands of the enemy. Trump
reportedly expressed confusion about the United States involvement in World War
I, asking aides, Who were the good guys in this war?
Responding to the report in a statement, the White House said, This report is
patently false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. Hes
demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn. An investigative reporter
for the Associated Press tweeted that a senior Defense Department official
confirmed this story by Jeffrey Goldberg in its entirety.
In a statement, Joe Biden, Trumps Democratic opponent in the upcoming
presidential election, said if the report was true, the president's comments are
yet another marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role
of the President of the United States.
The president has a long history of attacking military service members, even
those in his own party, including the late Republican leader Sen. John McCain
(R-AZ), whom he called a fucking loser upon seeing flags lowered to half-mast
in McCain's honor after his death in 2018. Hes not a war hero, Trump said of
McCain in 2015 while running for the Republican presidential nomination. I like
people who werent captured. The president reportedly told his staff, Were
not going to support that losers funeral after McCains death. Trump was not
invited to the memorial service.
During a 2018 planning meeting for a White House military parade, Trump
reportedly refused to allow wounded veterans to march, especially not amputees.
Nobody wants to see that, he was quoted saying.
On a visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017, Trump reportedly
joined John Kelly, then Homeland Security Secretary and soon to be White House
Chief of Staff. Kellys son Robert, who was killed in Afghanistan at the age of
29, is buried there. While standing before the grave, Trump is said to have
asked the elder Kelly, I dont get it. What was in it for them?
Kelly thought the remark was a joke at the time but later realized it was not,
according to The Atlantic.
In 2016 he also attacked the mother and father of a U.S. Army Captain, Humayun
Khan, who received a Purple Heart for bravery after being killed in Operation
Iraqi Freedom. In the same tirade, he called his own work as a businessman a
sacrifice similar to dying in combat. Khan's parents spoke at the 2016
Democratic National Convention.
Trump himself, of course, did not serve in the military, having received a
deferment from service during Vietnam due to the alleged presence of bone spurs
in his feet. In the '90s, Trump said he considered his attempts to avoid
sexually transmitted infections his personal Vietnam.