Fox News journalist Jennifer Griffin confirmed parts of The Atlantic's report on President Donald Trump calling veterans "losers" and why he did not want to visit the Aisne-Marne Cemetery during his 2018 Paris trip. Trump and the White House have strongly denied the report, with Trump later calling for Fox News to fire Griffin. According to Griffin's sources, two former senior Trump administration officials, heard Trump call anyone who fought in the Vietnam War a "sucker."
On Thursday night, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg reported that the real reason Trump did not visit the cemetery of American veterans in Paris in 2018 was not due to weather. The president reportedly thought his hair would become disheveled in the rain and he also did not think it was important to honor the deceased, four people with firsthand knowledge told Goldberg. "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," Trump reportedly told senior staffers in a meeting. Trump 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, considered hallowed ground by marines.
Other outlets, including The Associated Press, corroborated the reporting, even as the Trump administration said it was not true. On Friday afternoon, Goodwin reported that she also spoke with former senior Trump officials, who confirmed Goldberg's reporting. One source told Griffin that when Trump spoke about the Vietnam War, he called it a "stupid war" and said anyone who fought in it was a "sucker." The source said Trump asked of Veterans, "What's in it for them? They don't make any money." The source called this a "character flaw" for Trump. "He could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it," the source said.
When it came to the Paris trip, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Trump was "not in a good mood" because of a comment French President Emmanuel Macron made about "American reliability and the need perhaps for a European army." The source said Trump did not understand why he had to go to two cemeteries. Trump's staff told him canceling the cemetery trip would look bad, but this only made Trump look "mad as a hornet," Griffin reported. "The President drives a lot. The other world leaders drove to the cemeteries. He just didn't want to go," the former official said.
According to one former senior Trump administration official: "When the President spoke about the Vietnam War, he said, 'It was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker'."— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) September 4, 2020
Griffin's sources also confirmed other parts of The Atlantic report. The source confirmed that Trump did not want to see wounded veterans included in his proposed July 4th military parade because it was "not a good look." When it came to the late Sen. John McCain, Trump "just hated" him and always asked "Why do you see him as a hero?" her source said. Two sources confirmed Trump did not want flags lowered to half-staff when McCain died in August 2018, but he relented after a "stand-off."
The Trump administration has denied that there is any truth to The Atlantic reporting. On Friday night, Trump shared a link to a Breitbart article pointing out that Griffin did not confirm every part of The Atlantic's report. "All refuted by many witnesses. Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment," the president wrote. "[Fox News] is gone!"