Trump said retired Gen. John Kelly 'got eaten alive' as White House chief of staff after reports claimed he made rude remarks at the grave of Kelly's son
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President Donald Trump's 2018 decision not to visit a World War I veteran cemetery in Paris has reignited tension with his former chief of staff John Kelly. At a Friday press briefing, Trump reiterated old claims that Kelly was ill-equipped for his post. "He was with me, didn't do a good job, had no temperament, and ultimately he was petered out," Trump said. "He got eaten alive. He was unable to handle the pressure of this job." The president's comments follow a Thursday report from The Atlantic that Trump didn't find it important to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery two years ago, telling senior staff at the time: "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers." Kelly, a retired four-star Marine Corps general and Trump's longest-serving chief of staff, attended the event along with other world leaders. When Trump received public backlash for his absence, he privately blamed Kelly for telling him he could defer the invitation due to inclement weather, Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig wrote in their book, "A Very Stable Genius." "I could've f------ gone!" Trump reportedly told aides. "I was willing to go! They're killing me for it!" Trump also made insensitive remarks to Kelly during a visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017, the Atlantic reported Thursday. On the trip, the two stopped at the grave of Kelly's son, 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. While they were standing there, Trump reportedly turned to Kelly and said: "I don't get it. What was in it for them?"
Sources close to Kelly told The Atlantic he initially thought the president was commenting on the selflessness of America's service members. Later, they added, the retired general came to believe that Trump didn't understand the idea of personal sacrifice. Kelly has stayed mum on the incidents at both cemeteries after declining to comment to The Atlantic. The White House called the reports "just another anonymously sourced story meant to tear down a Commander-in-Chief." But there have been prior reports of tension between Trump and the retired general. Kelly previously compared having to refuse Trump's requests to "French kissing a chainsaw," according to New York Times correspondent Michael Schmidt's book, "Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President." "Kelly has told others that Trump wanted to behave like an authoritarian and repeatedly had to be restrained and told what he could and could not legally do," Schmidt wrote. In 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kelly used to mute the phone line during Trump's calls with world leaders to tell him to stop discussing sensitive information. Then in February, Kelly defended a key witness in Trump's impeachment inquiry, retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Shortly after, Trump blasted Kelly on Twitter. "When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn't do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Being Chief of Staff just wasn't for him," Trump wrote. "He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X's, he misses the action [and] just can't keep his mouth shut."SEE ALSO: 'I don't get it': Trump said to have questioned why retired Gen. John Kelly's son fought in Afghanistan — during a Memorial Day visit to his grave Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Lawyer reveals courtroom tactics that White House reporters can use to treat President Trump like a 'hostile witness' during press briefings
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Former defense secretary says Trump's word and actions 'on the record' corroborates Atlantic report of him belittling American veterans
Summary List PlacementFormer Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a Sunday interview with ABC that...Summary List PlacementFormer Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a Sunday interview with ABC that The Atlantic's report that President Donald Trump belittled American veterans "will resonate" with US soldiers because of the president's track record of deriding Americans who served in the army. In a report published Thursday, The Atlantic stated that anonymous sources said Trump derided the late former senator John McCain and the late former President George H. W. Bush as "losers" because they were shot down while serving in the US Navy. Hagel said that the report is in line with Trump's words and actions "on the record," which speak to the "credibility of this article." He pointed out that Trump's derision of late Senator John McCain, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and retired US Marine Corps general John Kelly are among many of Trump's track record criticizing former American veterans that "corroborates" the report. Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel says he believes the report that Trump disparaged U.S. soldiers “will resonate” with the military because Trump’s own words and actions "on the record" make "the article and those anonymous comments more and more credible.” https://t.co/ScDveU4dz4 pic.twitter.com/loeHYvDuJ5 — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 6, 2020 NEW: Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel tells @MarthaRaddatz that “you can go through a litany of past things that (Trump) said from his mouth, actions that he’s taken, and it corroborates” the allegations in The Atlantic report that Trump disparaged U.S. soldiers. https://t.co/ScDveU4dz4 pic.twitter.com/YOdVUP6G1n — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 6, 2020 "Facts are facts," the former Defense Secretary told ABC News. "I think this is a pretty clear indictment of this president's attitude towards our veterans." A recipient of two Purple Hearts while serving in the Vietnam War, Hagel added that such "despicable" comments are "beneath the dignity of any commander-in-chief." "No president has ever done that — use your veterans, use your active military as props," Hagel said on ABC. Meanwhile, Trump and his supporters have denied the report, slamming its use of anonymous sources. The president furiously lashed out on journalist Jeffrey Goldberg who wrote the article and denied the veracity of the report. On Sunday, he also attacked Laurene Powell Jobs, a major stakeholder in The Atlantic for "wasting money" on a "failing Radical Left Magazine." Two former sr Trump admin officials confirm .@JeffreyGoldberg reporting that President Trump disparaged veterans and did not want to drive to honor American war dead at Aisne-Marne Cemetery outside Paris. — Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) September 4, 2020 A number of other news outlets and journalists, including Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin, The Associated Press, and Business Insider have since corroborated parts of The Atlantic report with sources. Meanwhile, Trump has targeted journalists who have reported on the credibility of this story. On Friday, he tweeted out that Griffin "should be fired for this kind of reporting." Business Insider reached out to a spokesperson for The White House for comment. Read more: 'I've known Donald Trump. It sounds like him': Trump's 'loser' remarks about military veterans are getting harder to deny as more evidence corroborates bombshell report Trump said retired Gen. John Kelly 'got eaten alive' as White House chief of staff after reports claimed he made rude remarks at the grave of Kelly's son Fox News reported Trump never said that dead US troops were 'suckers,' but the network's national security correspondent said ex-officials confirmed he did Pete Buttigieg says Trump disrespected US military since the day he let a 'sucker' serve in Vietnam in his place Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What it's like inside North Korea's controversial restaurant chain
Jennifer Griffin confirmed president called dead soldiers ‘losers’Defensive Trump tweets ‘Fox News is gone!’The row over...Jennifer Griffin confirmed president called dead soldiers ‘losers’Defensive Trump tweets ‘Fox News is gone!’The row over Donald Trump’s alleged remarks denigrating American soldiers has now seen the US president target one of his core areas of support as he called for a Fox News journalist who reported details of the scandal to be fired.The Atlantic magazine published a story that described how Trump said he cancelled a visit to pay respects at an American military cemetery outside Paris in 2018 because he thought the dead soldiers were “losers” and “suckers”. Other outlets confirmed the news and detailed more incidents of Trump’s insulting attitude to American soldiers. Continue reading...
Fox News reported Trump 'never said' that dead US troops were 'suckers,' but the network's national security correspondent said ex-officials confirmed he did
Summary List PlacementFox News spent a chunk of its Friday coverage dismissing a report in The...Summary List PlacementFox News spent a chunk of its Friday coverage dismissing a report in The Atlantic saying President Donald Trump belittled fallen military members by calling them "suckers" and "losers." Then Jennifer Griffin, a national security correspondent for the network, said in a lengthy Twitter thread that former Trump administration officials confirmed the president's remarks to her. The Atlantic article cited anonymous sources — which Fox News said suggested the article had been falsified — but two former senior Trump administration officials verified the president's disparaging comments to Griffin, she said. "According to one former senior Trump administration official: 'When the President spoke about the Vietnam War, he said, 'It was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker,'" Griffin tweeted. This source also described "a character flaw" of the president, saying, "He could not understand why someone would die for their country," Griffin added. Two former sr Trump admin officials confirm .@JeffreyGoldberg reporting that President Trump disparaged veterans and did not want to drive to honor American war dead at Aisne-Marne Cemetery outside Paris. — Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) September 4, 2020 Trump made the comments during a 2018 visit to Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, according to The Atlantic. Griffin said one of her sources told her the president was in a foul mood and asked why he had to visit two cemeteries. President Trump's staff explained he could cancel (his visit to the cemetery), but he was warned, 'They (the press) are going to kill you for this'." The President was mad as a hornet when they did. — Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) September 4, 2020 Trump was scheduled to visit Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris that November but said the trip was called off because "the helicopter couldn't fly" and the Secret Service wouldn't drive him to the cemetery. Griffin learned, however, that Trump "just didn't want to go," she wrote on Twitter, citing a source. One of the sources also confirmed that the president said during a planning session that it was "not a good look" to include the "wounded guys" in a July 4 military parade, Griffin reported. She also said she found out that Trump "just hated" Sen. John McCain. Regarding McCain, "The President just hated John McCain. He always asked, 'Why do you see him as a hero?" Two sources confirmed the President did not want flags lowered but others in the White House ordered them at half mast. There was a stand off and then the President relented. — Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) September 4, 2020 This corroboration comes on the heels of Trump, his family, and his team staunchly denying The Atlantic piece and framing it as a political attack by an irrelevant and biased magazine. I was never a big fan of John McCain, disagreed with him on many things including ridiculous endless wars and the lack of success he had in dealing with the VA and our great Vets, but the lowering of our Nations American Flags, and the first class funeral he was given by our.... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2020 ....John a loser and swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES. This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2020 The Atlantic Magazine is dying, like most magazines, so they make up a fake story in order to gain some relevance. Story already refuted, but this is what we are up against. Just like the Fake Dossier. You fight and and fight, and then people realize it was a total fraud! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2020 But The Atlantic is a totally unbiased "news outlet," and not just propaganda for Joe Biden. 🙄🙄🙄 https://t.co/B1uf96ay8B — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 4, 2020 "The liberal activists at The Atlantic are uninterested in the truth, and they are only interested in peddling conspiracy-laden propaganda," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Friday. "No one loves and cares for our servicemen and women as much as President Donald J. Trump." Read more: 'I don't get it': Trump said to have questioned why retired Gen. John Kelly's son fought in Afghanistan — during a Memorial Day visit to his grave My son 'wasn't a sucker': Biden demands Trump apologize if he called US troops killed in combat 'losers' Trump says he lowered the flag for McCain 'without hesitation or complaint,' but a former senior official says 'that is not true' Trump decides to save the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes that his administration has planned to close for months Join the conversation about this story »