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 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
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Some service members expressed skepticism after bombshell report prompted an outpouring of condemnation Donald Trump was...Some service members expressed skepticism after bombshell report prompted an outpouring of condemnation Donald Trump was struggling to retain support of active US service members, according to polls, even before last week’s bombshell report that the commander-in-chief referred to fallen and captured US service members as “losers” and “suckers”. But some veterans and military family members remain conflicted. Related: Trump called American war dead ‘suckers’ and ‘losers', report claims Continue reading...
Pete Buttigieg says Trump disrespected US military since the day he let a 'sucker' serve in Vietnam in his place
Summary List PlacementPete Buttigieg, the former candidate for president and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, blasted...Summary List PlacementPete Buttigieg, the former candidate for president and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, blasted President Donald Trump on Friday over his recently reported remarks about American soldiers who died in combat. On Thursday, The Atlantic reported that President Donald Trump in 2018 described American Marines who lost their lives during a World War I battle as "suckers" and "losers" in canceling a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris that November. He also reportedly canceled the trip due to his fears that inclement weather would disturb his hair, according to The Atlantic. The White House and several people connected to it have since denied the accuracy of The Atlantic report, though Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin said in a Twitter thread she was able to confirm some of The Atlantic's reporting, which was based on reports from sources it granted anonymity. In response, Trump called on the cable news network to fire Griffin. Other outlets, including The Associated Press and The Washington Post, also reported the comments first published by The Atlantic on Thursday. As Business Insider reported noted, Trump has had a noted history of making disparaging comments about US veterans — most notably, the late 2012 GOP presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was held as a prisoner of war by North Vietnamese forces for more than five years during the Vietnam War. On Twitter, Trump denied ever calling McCain a loser, despite a video of him calling him doing so during a 2015 event. 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 Buttigieg said Friday he wasn't buying the president's denials. "I mean, look, the president today lied on Twitter about never calling John McCain a loser," said Buttigieg, who served as a US Navy Reserve officer from 2009 to 2017, which included a seven-month tour as a counterintelligence officer in Afghanistan. "Now, he's asking us to believe that, OK, he's lying about that today, because we can check and see the footage, but he's not lying about the other stuff?" Buttigieg, who dropped out of the Democratic Party's primary race in March, added. He continued: "He must think we're all suckers, and the amazing thing to me is how little respect he has for the intelligence of his own supporters." According to a previous Business Insider report, President Donald Trump avoided the military draft five times during the Vietnam war — four times for being enrolled and college and once for having bone spurs. "This president has been disrespecting the military from the day that he let some sucker — in his view — go in his place to serve in Vietnam because he didn't want to," Buttigieg said.SEE ALSO: Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen said the president 'would start a war' to stop himself from being removed from office Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why American sunscreens may not be protecting you as much as European sunscreens
'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
Summary List Placement A former senior White House official acknowledged that the controversial remarks President Donald...Summary List Placement A former senior White House official acknowledged that the controversial remarks President Donald Trump was reported to have said about the military resembled his speech pattern and was "so consistent with who he is." "I'm not surprised hearing about the comments," a former senior White House official told Insider. "I've known Donald Trump. It sounds like him. They're consistent with things that he's said." "He uses the word 'loser' as often as he can," they added. The comment comes as Trump was widely panned by critics following a report from The Atlantic that was published Thursday evening. According to several unnamed sources in the report, Trump had made multiple disparaging remarks about military veterans and appeared callous to the sacrifices made by service members. During a trip to Paris in 2018, Trump reportedly resisted the idea of visiting a military cemetery to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, saying that the revered site was "filled with losers" and "suckers" who died. The Atlantic report, which was written by the publication's editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, also noted that Trump made critical remarks about former Republican leaders who served in the military. Three sources told Goldberg that Trump was furious at Sen. John McCain of Arizona, even after his death from an aggressive form of brain cancer in 2018. McCain and Trump have long been at odds with each other, despite being in the same political party. "We're not going to support that loser's funeral," Trump said after McCain's death, according to The Atlantic. The US senator's funeral included a widely-attended proceeding at the Capitol Rotunda from both Democratic and Republican icons, including Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Trump was not invited to the proceedings. "What the f--- are we doing that for? Guy was a f---ing loser," Trump reportedly said after US flags were lowered to half-staff out of respect for McCain. Trump also described President George H.W. Bush as a "loser," because the former president's aircraft crashed during World War II, the Atlantic reported. Both McCain and Bush served in the US Navy as pilots and were shot down by enemy forces. Following the publication of The Atlantic's story, other news organizations have confirmed the alleged remarks with their own reporting. Fox News also confirmed in its report portions of The Atlantic's original story, including a claim that Trump referred to Vietnam War draftees as "suckers." Trump received five deferments — four for attending college and one for a bone spur diagnosis — and was not required to serve in the war. Long before The Atlantic published its report, Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified that Trump made similar comments about successfully avoiding the Vietnam War: "You think I'm stupid, I'm not going to Vietnam," Cohen recalled Trump as saying, during a congressional testimony in 2019. A book written by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters from the Washington Post, also references Trump berating his senior military leaders and describing them as "dopes and babies" — in addition to "losers." "You're all losers," Trump said at a meeting with his national security team in 2017, according to the book "A Very Stable Genius." "You don't know how to win anymore." Trump, in addition to his advisers, publicly denied the claims made in The Atlantic's report. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Friday characterized The Atlantic as "liberal activists," and provided emails of weather reports that threw cold water on claims that Trump did not want to visit the Paris cemetery because of fears that his hair "would become disheveled" from the inclement weather. In a late-night tweet on Thursday, Trump also acknowledged he "was never a big fan" of McCain and that he "disagreed with him on many things." Still, he claimed, he "never called John a loser." But the description of McCain as a "loser" echoes much of what Trump has said in the past: "I like people who weren't captured," Trump said of McCain's time as a prisoner of war, during his presidential campaign in 2015. Trump added at the time, "I don't like losers." Following the event, Trump also tweeted a link to a political blog that quoted his remarks. The president's tweet is still viewable on his personal Twitter account. The callous tone of Trump's comments about America's veterans is on par with the president, the former senior White House official told Insider. The official recalled that immediately after Trump called the family members of US Army Sgt. LaDavid Johnson, a soldier who was killed during a militant ambush in Niger in 2017, the president's behavior was as though "it was another day at the office for him." That same phone call was criticized by Johnson's widow, who said at the time that it had "made me cry even worse." "The president said that 'he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyways,'" Myeshia Johnson said during an interview with ABC. "It made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. He couldn't remember my husband's name." One current Trump administration official told The Daily Beast that Trump's seemingly indifference towards the military was not intentional. "The president means no disrespect to our troops; it's just that the way he speaks, he can sound like an asshole sometimes," the official said to The Daily Beast, adding, "it's his style." The former White House official disputed that assertion to Insider; however, and called it "totally disingenuous." "When I saw Donald Trump hugging the flag, it reminded me of Donald Trump the performer; the showman pandering," the former senior official told Insider, referring to the multiple occasions in which Trump physically embraced the US flag. "Not Donald Trump, the commander-in-chief; the person who actually is responsible for what happens with our military."Join the conversation about this story »