Trump,White House Officials and Sources Deny Trump Dishonored Fallen Soldiers During France Trip
President Donald Trump and other White House officials denied a report by the Atlantic that in 2018, he had canceled a visit to an American cemetery during a trip to France because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead.
Of course, The Atlantic cited anonymous sources and has already been denied by numerous officials including the President. Two sources from Fox News has countered the Atlantic by also denying the remarks were made.
Update From Fox News:
Two sources who were on the trip in question with Trump refuted the main thesis of The Atlantic's reporting -- that Trump canceled a trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, which is at the site of Belleau Wood, an important World War I battle, because he believed the dead soldiers to be "losers" and "suckers."
The White House had said at the time the decision was made because of poor weather for flying Marine One and the fact that the cemetery was too far a distance for a motorcade to drive.
One of the sources who refuted the Atlantic's reporting is not a fan of Trump. Both sources said that Trump was upset about not being able to go to Aisne-Marne and said they had never heard Trump refer to war dead at Aisne-Marne or in the battle of Bellau Wood as "losers" or "suckers."
He told reporters “If they really exist, if people really exist that would have said that, they’re low lifes and they’re liars. And I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes,There is nobody that respects them more.”
He continued, “So, I just think it’s a horrible horrible thing. It made a great evening into frankly a very sad evening when I see a statement like that. No animal, nobody, what animal would say such a thing?”
The president told reporters that he planned to visit the cemetery in France by helicopter, but was advised by the U.S. Secret Service not to because of bad weather that day. The alternative would of been a long drive through very busy areas of Paris but the Secret Service objected, even though he insisted on the drive, he said.
“The Secret Service told me ‘you can’t do it.’ I said ‘I have to do it.’ They said ‘you can’t do it,’” he recounted.
Trump adds, expressing incredulity at the situation, “Now all of a sudden somebody makes up this horrible story that I didn’t want to go, and then they make up an even worse story, an even worse story, calling certain names to our fallen heroes. It’s a disgrace that a magazine is able to write it.”
And to think that I would make statements negative to our military and our fallen heroes when nobody’s done what I’ve done with the budgets, with the military budgets, with getting pay raises for our military,” he noted. “It’s a disgraceful situation by a magazine that’s a terrible magazine.”
Trump called on reporters to speak to General Keith Kellogg “because he knows exactly the story.”
Kellogg, a retired Lieutenant General who now serves as the National Security Advisor to Vice President Mike Pence, said on Twitter late Thursday, “The Atlantic story is completely false.”
“Absolutely lacks merit,” he continued. “I’ve been by the President’s side. He has always shown the highest respect to our active duty troops and veterans with utmost respect paid to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and those wounded in battle.”
The president also denied allegations in the publication’s report that he wouldn’t support the funeral of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Trump strongly denied the allegations, calling it on Twitter “more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election!”
“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 Country, had to be approved by me, as President, & I did so without hesitation or complaint,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The president continued, “Quite the contrary, I felt it was well deserved. I even sent Air Force One to bring his body, in casket, from Arizona to Washington. It was my honor to do so. Also, I never called 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.”
The timing is suspect coming out just days before the election with Trump having tremendous support among veterans and the military. President Trump has consistently praised the military and has always shown respect to the fallen soldiers. It is hard to believe that he would speak disparagingly about the them. What is more believable is the media trying to hurt his support among the military just months before the election.