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Even critics of President Donald Trump are disputing claims in a recent report that he had called fallen World War I soldiers “losers” during a 2018 trip.
The explosive claims in an article in The Atlantic published this week have been punched full of holes by the president, the White House and many others. But now, even former National Security Advisor John Bolton has come out and said that he “didn’t hear” Trump say the disparaging remarks.
Even John Bolton comes to President Trump’s defense pic.twitter.com/jOu0i1yAw2
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) September 5, 2020
Bolton thought canceling the visit, which was “entirely a weather-related decision” was the “proper thing to do” at the time.
Though he has been openly critical of the president since leaving the administration last year, and wrote a tell-all book about his time as Trump’s national security advisor, Bolton also told The New York Times on Friday that he “was there” on the presidential visit to France in 2018 and never heard Trump make the comments he is alleged to have said.
The story in The Atlantic sparked a furor this week as editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg cited multiple unnamed sources in reporting that Trump intentionally skipped a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery northeast of Paris where 2,289 American war dead are buried. An additional 1,060 missing service members have their names inscribed on a memorial wall at the cemetery.
The article claimed Trump did not want to make the stop “because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead.”
“Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,” Trump allegedly said, according to “four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day,” Goldberg claimed. The so-called sources also claimed that the president called the more than 1,800 marines who had died at the battle of Belleau Wood “suckers” for losing their lives.
Trump, witnesses come out swinging against anonymously sourced story claiming POTUS disparaged US fallen soldiers https://t.co/4H2aZgao8V
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 4, 2020
The president called out the “totally fake story” when speaking from the Oval Office on Friday. He also slammed the “lowlifes” and “liars” who made the claims in an exchange with reporters when he returned from a campaign stop in Pennsylvania late Thursday night. Documentation also backed his assertion that he was unable to make the visit to the cemetery despite his desire to do so because of heavy rain that day and the traffic and security implications involved.
The White House quickly slammed the publication and issued a press release including statements from multiple people, some of whom were with Trump on the 2018 trip.
And on Friday, even Bolton spoke up, backing Trump’s dispute of the claims made by unnamed sources.
“I didn’t hear that,” Bolton told The Times in an interview. “I’m not saying he didn’t say them later in the day or another time but I was there for that discussion.”
Bolton, who had called Trump unfit for office after breaking with the administration, had also commented on the trip in his book, noting how the helicopter ride was not possible because of the weather. He had also written on the “unacceptable risk” of having the U.S. President stuck in traffic while making the long drive to the site.
The cancellation of the president’s visit to the cemetery sparked much criticism at the time, and Bolton had called out the media for attacking Trump over what was not his own decision.
Bolton, no fan of Trump’s, on the decision for Trump to skip Belleau Woods pic.twitter.com/OG4hGFwIfQ
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) September 4, 2020
While Bolton’s comment to The Times about what really happened may have surprised some, other critics of the president took advantage of The Atlantic’s article to push the baseless claims. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden demanded on Friday that Trump apologize “if these statements are true.”
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld blasted the former vice president for already using the “hoax” story in a campaign ad which was released by an anti-Trump veteran’s organization.
“Don’t you find at the least bit questionable that the Biden campaign, perhaps the slowest, clumsiest entity since Joe Biden himself already had an ad made based on this hoax?” Gutfeld said on “The Five” Friday.
(Source: Fox News)
“It feels like this was created in a lab and unleashed at the time when they saw Joe collapsing,” Gutfeld added. “This is the first Hail Mary of maybe 50 Hail Marys that you will see, and you have to ask, ‘Will it work?’ Well, who are the targets here? The targets of his scam are military families who are naturally pro-Trump, because he has been so good with the military, so they are going right at his strength. And he has to fight back.”
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