United States President Donald Trump on Friday refuted allegations that he made disparaging remarks about the country’s soldiers, who were captured or killed, The New York Times reported.
“It was a totally fake story, and that was confirmed by many people who were actually there,” he told reporters. “I’ve done more for the military than almost anybody else.”
A news report published in The Atlantic said that the president has on multiple occasions insulted American soldiers, including calling those killed in combat during World War I as “losers” and “suckers”. The magazine also reported that Trump, who has touted his record helping US veterans, also declined to visit Marines buried at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018. Trump cancelled a visit to the cemetery “because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain”, the report said, citing multiple sources.
A senior defense department official along with a US Marine Corps officer confirmed that the president made “some of these remarks”, AP reported.
The White House said Trump did not go to the cemetery because weather prevented a helicopter flight. Trump told reporters the story was false, calling it “a disgraceful situation” by a “terrible magazine.”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said: “It’s sad the depths that people will go to during a lead-up to a presidential campaign to try to smear somebody.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attacked Trump over the alleged remarks. “If what is written in The Atlantic is true, it’s disgusting,” Biden said on Friday. “And it affirms what most of us believe to be true: that Donald Trump is not fit to do the job of president, to be the commander in chief.”
Biden also listed instances in which Trump had dismissed the sacrifices of military veterans, including those of Senator John McCain, who died in 2018. “President Trump has demonstrated he has no sense of service, no loyalty to any cause other than himself,” he said.
Trump had also called McCain a “loser” using expletives, according to both The Atlantic and AP.
Veterans’ groups also attacked the president for allegedly mocking American soldiers, according to BBC. Votevets, a political action committee comprising mostly of war veterans, posted a video of families of those killed in action.
Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said Trump has no respect for anyone. “Who is really surprised by this,” he asked.