President Donald Trump on Thursday evening denied a report that he called American soldiers killed in combat and late Sen. John McCain "losers" and "suckers" during a 2018 trip to Paris. Returning from a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the president rebutted the allegation, claiming that "there is nobody that respects them more."
"If people really exist that would have said that, they're lowlifes 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. What animal would say such a thing?" Trump said, according to NBC News. "And especially since I've done more, I think more than almost anybody, to help our military to get the budgets, to get the pay raises for our military. So I just think it's a horrible thing that they are allowed to write that. We can refute it. We have other people that will refute it."
The president, who also denied the allegations in a series of three tweets, went on to call the report "a disgraceful situation by a magazine that is a terrible magazine." He suggested that The Atlantic "made it up," adding, "it's a couple of people that have been failures in the administration."
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....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2020
The White House also denied the report, which was published by The Atlantic Thursday afternoon. According to the publication, which cited four people with firsthand knowledge, the president decided not to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery not solely because of the rain, but because "he did not believe it important to honor American war dead." During a conversation with officials, the president reportedly said, "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," and referred to American Marines who died in combat at Belleau Wood as "suckers" for getting killed. Trump also allegedly called McCain, a Vietnam War hero, "a "f—ing loser." The White House, however, claims that these allegations are "false."
In a statement, White House communications director Alyssa Farah said that Trump "holds the military in the highest regard" and has "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." Farah concluded that "this has no basis in fact."