John Kelly says Trump disrespected war dead and disabled veterans despite contrary evidence

By 
 October 3, 2023

Retired Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly previously served as White House chief of staff under former President Donald Trump.

While Kelly was once happy to defend Trump from members of the media, he has since turned on his old boss by joining in their attacks.

Kelly accuses Trump of calling American war dead "suckers"

According to CNN, Kelly issued a statement on Monday in which he leveled a number of serious allegations against the former president.

"What can I add that has not already been said?" the retired Marine Corps general told CNN when asked for comment about Trump.

"A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all 'suckers' because 'there is nothing in it for them,'" Kelly said.

"A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because 'it doesn’t look good for me,'" he continued.

"A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family – for all Gold Star families – on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are 'losers' and wouldn’t visit their graves in France," Kelly declared.

Fox News cites two White House sources who deny claims about Trump

Kelly's words echo claims made in a 2020 article by Jeffrey Goldberg, who serves as editor-in-chief of The Atlantic magazine.

This includes the allegation that Trump refused to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France because those buried there were "losers" and "suckers."

However, Fox News cited two unnamed former White House figures who traveled with the then-president (including one who is "not a fan of Trump"), and both disputed that Trump ever made such comments.

Fox News recalled how "[t]he White House had said at the time the decision was made because of poor weather for flying Marine One and the fact that the cemetery was too far a distance for a motorcade to drive."

Trump seen embracing wheelchair-bound veteran

For his part, Trump denied the story in a tweet, saying, "The Atlantic Magazine is dying, like most magazines, so they make up a fake story in order to gain some relevance."

Kelly's contention that Trump did not want to be seen in the presence of disabled veterans is curious given how MSNBC reported in 2019 that the then-president physically embraced Army Cpt. Luis Avila, who was left wheelchair-bound after being wounded in Afghanistan.

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