The Atlantic editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg published an article about President Donald Trump, accusing him of calling American war heroes "losers" and "suckers." As soon as the story came out, I knew it was fake. Now the president is also calling the report fake, denying that he ever said such a thing.
The president said that the report is as fake as the dossier, and that it is just the next scandal in a long line of fake scandals in an attempt to stop his re-election.
"I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more. So, I just think it's a horrible, horrible thing," Trump told reporters on Thursday evening.
He also tweeted, "I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES. This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election!"
The article, published Thursday and reported by The Atlantic editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, cites four anonymous sources with firsthand knowledge of Mr. Trump's comments. It says the president canceled his visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 in part because he believed the Marines who died in the battle of Belleau Wood during World War I were "suckers." According to the report, Mr. Trump said, "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers."
Mr. Trump denied this, saying, "I was ready to go to the ceremony," but weather prevented him from attending.
"It was raining about as hard as I've ever seen. And on top of that it was very, very foggy. And the helicopter was unable to fly. It was a fairly long helicopter flight, but it was a very long drive," he told reporters Thursday. The Secret Service, he said, told him, "'You can't do it.' It was two and a half hours, two hours of driving." Mr. Trump said he responded, "'I want to do it.' They said, 'You can't.' There was no way I would have been able to do it." He also told reporters, "I spoke to my wife, I said, 'I hate this, I came here to go to that ceremony.'... I said, 'I feel terrible,' and that was the end of it."
The president seemed to speculate about the sources, "Probably it's a couple of people that have been failures in the administration that I got rid of. I couldn't get rid of them fast enough. Or it was just made up. But it's unthinkable."
"Anybody that — if they really exist — if people really exist that would have said that, they're low lifes and they're liars," the president said.
Hogan Gidley, who is currently the Trump campaign's national press secretary, traveled with the president during the trip to France as deputy White House press secretary. In a phone interview, Gidley denied the report.
"That is a disgusting grotesque lie. I was there. The president never said that. And he would never even think such a vile thought because I know from firsthand knowledge that the president absolutely loves, respects, and reveres the brave men and women of the U.S. military," Gidley told CBS News.
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