Non-veteran Donald Trump, who avoided military service during the Vietnam War with a questionable diagnosis of “bone spurs” by a doctor beholden to his father, called veterans who died in World War II “losers” and “suckers” when he avoided attending a service at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 to honor American troops buried there, news report says.
Trump blamed his non-attendance of rain and a claimed inability of his helicopter to fly but the reports by The Atlantic says “he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day.”
Trump has the lowest approval rating of military leaders and troops of any president in recent history, refused to honor those captured in combat, won’t allow wounded veterans to be used in parades he attends and questions why anyone would serve their country instead of finding a job with more pay.
The Atlantic report is written by Jeffrey Goldberg, the award-winning editor of the magazine.
Goldberg says he has studied Trump’s disrespect for those who have served their country ever since watching him disparage Vietnam War hero Navy pilot John McCain, who was captured after his plane was shot down, and he was tortured in a North Vietnamese prison. McCain later served in both the House and Congress and lost a presidential race against Barack Obama.
Trump’s understanding of concepts such as patriotism, service, and sacrifice has interested me since he expressed contempt for the war record of the late Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in 2015 while running for the Republican nomination for president. “I like people who weren’t captured.”
There was no precedent in American politics for the expression of this sort of contempt, but the performatively patriotic Trump did no damage to his candidacy by attacking McCain in this manner. Nor did he set his campaign back by attacking the parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
Trump remained fixated on McCain, one of the few prominent Republicans to continue criticizing him after he won the nomination. When McCain died, in August 2018, Trump told his senior staff, according to three sources with direct knowledge of this event, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,” and he became furious, according to witnesses, when he saw flags lowered to half-staff. “What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser,” the president told aides. Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral.
In addition, the Associated Press reports:
A senior Defense Department official with firsthand knowledge of events and a senior U.S. Marine Corps officer who was told about Trump’s comments confirmed some of the remarks to The Associated Press, including the 2018 cemetery comments.
Even Fox News, considered a propaganda arm of Trump, confirmed the basic facts of The Atlantic story. Reporter Jennifer Griffin announced her finding on Twitter:
“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,’ ” she wrote. “When asked IF the President could have driven to the Aisne-Marne Cemetery, this former official said confidently: ‘The President drives a lot. The other world leaders drove to the cemeteries. He just didn’t want to go.’ ”
Trump’s response: “Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. @FoxNews is gone!”
Several of Griffin’s colleague said Trump should retreat.
“Jennifer Griffin is the kind of reporter we all strive to be like,” said national correspondent Bryan Llenas. “She’s courageous, smart, ethical, fair and a class act. She’s earned the trust of viewers throughout a distinguished career and is credibile.”
“I’ll forever stand by @JenGriffinFNC,” said senior news producer Rocco Aloe.
Griffin defended herself during an appearance on Fox News on Saturday. “My sources are unimpeachable,” she said. “I feel very confident with what we have reported at Fox. Not every line of the Atlantic article did I confirm, but I would say that most of the descriptions and the quotes in that Atlantic article, I did find people who were able to confirm, and so I feel very confident in my reporting. … I’m a reporter, and it was my job to report what I heard.”
Anchor Neil Cavuto then endorsed her work. “Jennifer, you are a very good reporter,” he told her. Then, addressing his audience, he said, “She’s pretty scrupulous when it comes to making sure all the i’s are dotted, all the t’s are crossed.”
Trump claims he has strong support among veterans but, like so many of his claims, he lies. A recent poll by The Military Times shows support of Trump among active troops is 37 percent, and he trails Democratic challenger Joe Biden — something previously unheard for a Republican incumbent seeking re-election.
Let this Navy veteran and SEAL tell us why he feels Trump is a coward and a draft dodger who has betrayed those who serve their country:
Consider the comments, too, of Gen. Jim Mattis Trump’s first defense secretary. He was disgusted when he quit and called the failed leader of this country “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.”
Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, denounced the use of the military to support the political acts of Trump, which he said “laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country.”
Trump has pardoned American soldiers convicted of war crimes and ordered the Navy to restore the Trident insignia and rank to a Navy SEAL who killed a civilian in Afghanistan. Such actions had led to military leaders and the rank and file to question if they are serving the Constitution or his whims.
He denies the quotes attributed to him in The Atlantic story, but he also consistently lies about quotes captured on video or audio recordings. Few Americans believe his lies and that includes at least two-thirds of our military forces.
At ease soldiers. Please continue to serve your nation and not its corrupt president.
Here’s some more about the bounty on American troops that Trump ignores:
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