As President Donald Trump continues to be swept up in controversy amid his alleged remarks about fallen U.S. soldiers, his eldest son's past comments are coming back into the spotlight. In an excerpt from his book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, that first surfaced in November of 2019, Donald Trump Jr. likened the criticism and sacrifices his family has made during his father’s presidency to those who died in war.
In the book, according to Axios, Trump Jr. reflected on a visit to the Arlington National Cemetery, which memorializes thousands of American troops, veterans, and their families, just before his father was inaugurated in January 2017. The visit, however, made Trump Jr. gain "a deep sense of the importance of the presidency and a love of our country," which he explained as "a big sacrifice, costing us millions and millions of dollars annually, a huge book of business that I had personally built." It was as the Army Band bugler played "Taps" in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that he reflected on the extent of what he saw as his family's sacrifices, which he compared to the sacrifices made by those soldiers.
"In that moment, I also thought of all the attacks we'd already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed — voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were 'profiting off the office,'" Trump Jr. wrote.
Trump Jr.'s remarks, which sparked backlash when they surfaced, were made just a year after the president allegedly called soldiers buried at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetary "losers" and "suckers" for dying in combat. Those alleged comments were made in a report from The Atlantic published Thursday citing four anonymous sources detailing Trump’s failed visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetary during his trip to Paris in 2018. The sources allege that Trump reportedly told senior staffers in a meeting, "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," and also called the 1,800 marines who died at Belleau Wood "suckers" for getting killed and did not go to the site of the battle.
While Trump and the White House have denied the report, a number of other outlets, including the Associated Press, corroborated the reporting. Fox News journalist Jennifer Griffin, meanwhile, also confirmed aspects of the report after having spoken with two former senior Trump administration officials.