On March 13, the Atlantic published a controversial article written by its editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg. He is a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Mr. Goldberg is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. President Trump vehemently denied the truth of the article, but Trump’s previous comments are consistent with his actions and comments of the past. Other news agencies, including FOX News, have corroborate the Atlantic Report
Below is the article in full published by the Atlantic followed by the link:
“TRUMP: AMERICANS WHO DIED IN WAR ARE ‘LOSERS’ AND ‘SUCKERS’
The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic.
When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.
Trump rejected the idea of the visit because 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. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.
Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies.
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. (These sources, and others quoted in this article, spoke on condition of anonymity. The White House did not return earlier calls for comment, but Alyssa Farah, a White House spokesperson, emailed me this statement shortly after this story was posted: “This report is false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn: delivering on his promise to give our troops a much needed pay raise, increasing military spending, signing critical veterans reforms, and supporting military spouses. This has no basis in fact.”)
Trump’s understanding of heroism has not evolved since he became president. According to sources with knowledge of the president’s views, he seems to genuinely not understand why Americans treat former prisoners of war with respect. Nor does he understand why pilots who are shot down in combat are honored by the military. On at least two occasions since becoming president, according to three sources with direct knowledge of his views, Trump referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a “loser” for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II. (Bush escaped capture, but eight other men shot down during the same mission were caught, tortured, and executed by Japanese soldiers.)
When lashing out at critics, Trump often reaches for illogical and corrosive insults, and members of the Bush family have publicly opposed him. But his cynicism about service and heroism extends even to the World War I dead buried outside Paris—people who were killed more than a quarter century before he was born. Trump finds the notion of military service difficult to understand, and the idea of volunteering to serve especially incomprehensible. (The president did not serve in the military; he received a medical deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War because of the alleged presence of bone spurs in his feet. In the 1990s, Trump said his efforts to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases constituted his “personal Vietnam.”)
On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.
“He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” one of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told me. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” Kelly’s friend went on to say, “Trump can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.”
I’ve asked numerous general officers over the past year for their analysis of Trump’s seeming contempt for military service. They offer a number of explanations. Some of his cynicism is rooted in frustration, they say. Trump, unlike previous presidents, tends to believe that the military, like other departments of the federal government, is beholden only to him, and not the Constitution. Many senior officers have expressed worry about Trump’s understanding of the rules governing the use of the armed forces. This issue came to a head in early June, during demonstrations in Washington, D.C., in response to police killings of Black people. James Mattis, the retired Marine general and former secretary of defense, lambasted Trump at the time for ordering law-enforcement officers to forcibly clear protesters from Lafayette Square, and for using soldiers as props: “When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Mattis wrote. “Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”
Another explanation is more quotidian, and aligns with a broader understanding of Trump’s material-focused worldview. The president believes that nothing is worth doing without the promise of monetary payback, and that talented people who don’t pursue riches are “losers.” (According to eyewitnesses, after a White House briefing given by the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, Trump turned to aides and said, “That guy is smart. Why did he join the military?”)
Yet another, related, explanation concerns what appears to be Trump’s pathological fear of appearing to look like a “sucker” himself. His capacious definition of sucker includes those who lose their lives in service to their country, as well as those who are taken prisoner, or are wounded in battle. “He has a lot of fear,” one officer with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s views said. “He doesn’t see the heroism in fighting.” Several observers told me that Trump is deeply anxious about dying or being disfigured, and this worry manifests itself as disgust for those who have suffered. Trump recently claimed that he has received the bodies of slain service members “many, many” times, but in fact he has traveled to Dover Air Force Base, the transfer point for the remains of fallen service members, only four times since becoming president. In another incident, Trump falsely claimed that he had called “virtually all” of the families of service members who had died during his term, then began rush-shipping condolence letters when families said the president was not telling the truth.
Trump has been, for the duration of his presidency, fixated on staging military parades, but only of a certain sort. In a 2018 White House planning meeting for such an event, Trump asked his staff not to include wounded veterans, on grounds that spectators would feel uncomfortable in the presence of amputees. “Nobody wants to see that,” he said.”
The link to the Atlantic article is here:
FOX NEWS CONFIRMS THE ATLANTIC’S REPORT ON TRUMP’S SOLDIER COMMENTS
There is no doubt that FOX News is a 24-7 promoter of all that is Trump. It is likely he has many of FOX new casters, especially Sean Hannity, on the White House speed dial.
On Thursday, September 3, the Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin confirmed reporting published by The Atlantic that Trump had said soldiers who died in war were “suckers” and “losers” and said as follows:
“I’ve spoken with two U.S. senior officials who were on the trip to France who confirmed to me key details in The Atlantic article and the quotes attributed to the president,” Griffin said.
According to Griffin’s sources, one of whom she said was a former Trump administration official, “The president would say about American veterans, ‘What’s in it for them? They don’t make any money.’”
Griffin also said one of her sources said, “It was a character flaw of the President. He could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it.”
“Regarding the French trip to mark the end of WWI, according to this former official, the president was not in a good mood,” Griffin continued. “French President Macron had said something that made him mad, he questioned why he had to go to two cemeteries. ‘Why do I have to do two?’ His staff explained he could cancel, but he was warned they — they press — are going to kill you for this. The president was mad as a hornet when they did, according to this source.”
The link to the FOX News report is here:
TRUMP DEMANDS FOX NEWS FIRE REPORTER
On Friday, September 5, in a late night “tweet” Trump demanded that Fox News fire national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin after she said she confirmed “key details” in the Atlantic report that he had disparaged American military dead as “losers” and “suckers.” Trump tweeted:
“All refuted by many witnesses. Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. @FoxNews is gone!”
Griffin responded to Trump’s demand by saying:
“I can tell you that my sources are unimpeachable. 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, you know, I feel very confident in my reporting.”
Several FOX News reporters and on-air hosts went to Griffin’s defense, including Fox News’ Bret Baier, who said Griffin was a “great reporter and a total class act“; foreign correspondent Trey Yingst, who tweeted that she “embodies what the industry is built upon. Truth and accountability”; and State Department correspondent Rich Edison, who said she was a “terrific reporter.” ABC News’ Jonathan Karl also commended Griffin for being “an excellent reporter and a class act,” while the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman said Griffin is “one of the best reporters [at Fox News.]
OTHER NEWS AGENCIES CORROBORATE ATLANTIC REPORT
On September 5, 2020, CNN published the following report:
“President Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned why Americans who served in Vietnam went to war, according to someone who has heard him make the remarks.
The President, who received a draft deferment for bone spurs, has suggested in those conversations that Vietnam veterans didn’t know how to exploit the system to get out of serving.
Men between the ages of 18-26 had to serve in the military for 21 months under the draft unless they were given a deferment. In January 1973, once the US ended its direct involvement in Vietnam, the US announced it was going to an all-volunteer army. In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a proclamation ending the requirement for men to register for the draft.
Trump has also questioned, generally, the point of going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, given his belief those wars were ill-advised. The President has wondered aloud “what did they get out of it?,” the same source told CNN.
The source spoke with CNN following Trump’s forceful denial of a story in The Atlantic magazine Thursday that he had disparaged US service members killed in battle and chose to skip a ceremony honoring veterans.
The Atlantic specifically reported that Trump didn’t want to attend a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France in 2018 because he was concerned that the rain would ruin his hair. Trump said the US Secret Service prevented him from flying to attend the ceremony due to the weather conditions.
Later Saturday, a former senior administration official confirmed to CNN that Trump referred to fallen US service members at the Aisne-Marne cemetery in crude and derogatory terms during the November 2018 trip to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
The former official, who declined to be named, largely confirmed reporting from Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic magazine.
Fox News, the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Washington Post have also corroborated various parts of The Atlantic’s reporting.
Trump has adamantly denied that he holds anything but the utmost respect for American service members.
“To me, they’re heroes,” he said in the Oval Office … . “It’s even hard to believe how they could do it. And I say that, the level of bravery, and to me, they’re absolute heroes.”
He called The Atlantic article a “fake story,” and he and the White House have pointed to his increase in military spending and a pay raise for military troops.
Trump has a complicated history with Vietnam. Along with his medical deferment for bone spurs, Trump also received four deferments from the Vietnam War draft due to education.
In an interview in the late 1990s, Trump, known for being a fixture in the New York tabloids at the time, made light of military service in Vietnam by comparing it to avoiding sexually transmitted diseases in the New York dating scene.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump attacked Republican Sen. John McCain’s service in the Vietnam War, stating in 2015 that McCain was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese and held as a prisoner of war.
In a statement Saturday, Rep. Adam Smith, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called Trump “incapable of performing the duties of Commander-in-Chief.”
“The President claims he loves the military, because it’s part of his political strategy, but when the mics are off and the cameras are no longer rolling he has shown his true colors,” Smith said. “He has no respect for our military; he views our service members as window dressing for his cosplay of the American presidency.”
The link to the CNN article is here:
TRUMP’S OBSESSION WITH JOHN Mc CAIN:
On July 18, 2015, then-candidate Donald Trump said this about John McCain:
“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Least anyone forget, McCain was a Republic US Senator from Arizona for 30 years, a former GOP presidential nominee who not only served in the Vietnam War but spent years of his life being tortured in a North Vietnamese prison camp. Trump on the other hand is a President who received several deferments during Vietnam, including for bone spurs.
On March 19, 2019, after Mc Cain died from brain cancer, President Trump offered his assessment:
“I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be. … I’m very unhappy that he didn’t repeal and replace Obamacare, as you know. He campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare for years and then he got to a vote and he said thumbs down. And our country would’ve saved a trillion dollars and we would’ve had great healthcare. So he campaigned, he told us hours before that he was going to repeal and replace, and then for some reason, I think I understand the reason, he ended up going thumbs up, and frankly, had we even known that, I think we would’ve gotten the vote cause we could’ve gotten somebody else. So I think that’s disgraceful, plus there are other things.”
Trumps comments came after a weekend in which Trump repeatedly attacked McCain after he had passed , for graduating “last in his class” from the Naval Academy and for allegedly sending the so-called Steele dossier to the media, offering absolutely no proof that McCain had leaked the dossier put together by a former British intelligence agent and leaked to the press.
On September 3, Trump cited the Veterans Choice health care program as evidence that he has done more for veterans than the late Senator John McCain.
There are two lies with Trump’s defense:
First: The Health Care program was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014.
Second: It was McCain’s bill. McCain was a lead author of the bipartisan legislation putting it together with Sen. Bernie Sanders.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
When Trump first entered office, he surrounded himself with retired generals in key roles. The retired generals included Jim Mattis as Defense Secretary, John Kelly as Homeland Security Secretary and later Chief of Staff, and H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser. All 4 generals were thought to be solid appointments. All 4 brought a sense of stability to the White House in the minds of the public. They were viewed as true patriots that would at least keep Trump in check and not allow Trump to start a war.
Soon all the relationships disintegrated and there was no trust. All were forced out by Trump, no doubt because they were too loyal to the country and the people they served and told Trump simply things he did not want to hear. Their sin in Trump’s mind is that they dedicated their lives to protecting the public, did not make money and were “chumps” for their willingness to give their lives for their country and fight for the freedoms we all enjoy. Trump wanted their absolute loyalty to him and him alone, and when they left his service, he disparaged them in no uncertain terms saying they were not up to their jobs.
After close to 4 years of constant daily news coverage and twitters from Trump creating crisis, after crisis, after crisis of his own making, even bringing the country close to nuclear war with North Korea, Trump never disappoints in showing just how low he is willing to go into the sewer to express contempt for those he dislikes or who he disagrees with. He has now revealed his total dislike for the military and the contempt for those he leads as Commander in Chief.
Trump supporters look upon him as the messiah that is cult like. Sadly, it is still not at all likely he will lose even a few of his supporters now that Trump’s contempt for the military and contempt towards those that have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend this country and its freedoms has been revealed. Die-hard Trump supporters refuse to realize he has no business being President of the United States and that he is incapable of performing the duties of Commander-in-Chief.
Our President and Bone Spur Commander in Chief has referred to the pandemic as though he is taking us to war. It’s a war which in all likely our casualties would be thousands less had he acted back in January like a true leader. Instead we have a self-center Colonel Sanders stuffing his face eating Mc Donald’s Big Mac’s all day long in the White House residence while he watches FOX News, at least before they called him out as the fraud he is on the military.