President Donald Trump, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders all agree: President Trump never disparaged America’s fallen heroes.
A number of witnesses are disputing a story from The Atlantic claiming that Trump called fallen U.S. soldiers “suckers” and “losers” — including Sanders, who broke her silence in a tweet Thursday calling the article “total BS.”
“I am disgusted”
In a venomous hit piece based entirely on anonymous sources, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg claims that Trump insulted deceased World War I soldiers buried at a cemetery in France. Trump canceled a visit to the cemetery, citing bad weather, in 2018, but Goldberg alleged that Trump was afraid to get his hair wet and felt no compulsion to honor the fallen.
In a tweet, Sanders said that the Atlantic story was a “false attack” and “total BS,” adding that she was present when the alleged comments would have been made.
“The Atlantic story on [Trump] is total BS. I was actually there and one of the people part of the discussion — this never happened. I have sat in the room when our President called family members after their sons were killed in action and it was heart-wrenching,” she wrote. The former press secretary added:
These were some of the moments I witnessed the President show his heart and demonstrate how much he respects the selfless and courageous men and women of our military. I am disgusted by this false attack.
Other witnesses also stepped in to shoot down the gossamer-thin story, including Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, who said that it was a smear job with the purpose of hurting Trump in the polls.
I was with POTUS in France, with Sarah, and have been at his side throughout it all. Complete lies by “anonymous sources” that were “dropped” just as he begins to campaign (and surge). A disgraceful attempt to smear POTUS, 60 days before the Presidential Election! Disgusting!! https://t.co/mQfCNUlyZm
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) September 4, 2020
“I didn’t hear that”
But it’s not just Trump’s stalwart allies coming to his aid. Perhaps most surprisingly, John Bolton, President Trump’s former National Security adviser and an outspoken public rival of the president, also said that the story was bunk.
“I didn’t hear that,” Bolton told The New York Times, according to The Hill.
Bolton also backs up Trump in his memoir, writing that “bad visibility could make it imprudent to chopper to the cemetery,” Fox News reports.
President Trump has furiously contradicted the article as well. “I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes,” Trump said Friday, according to The Hill. “There is nobody that respects them more. So, I just think it’s a horrible, horrible thing… No animal, nobody, what animal would say such a thing.”
By Friday morning, Trump seemed confident the story was already shot, calling the story an “already refuted” lie pushed by a “dying” magazine.