Stench of lies: The Atlantic runs fake news about Trump supposedly calling fallen servicemen 'losers'
Sometimes, the press, in its Trump derangement, asks us to believe the fantastical.
That's the case with the anonymously sourced story that ran in The Atlantic about President Trump supposedly calling fallen U.S. servicemen "losers."
When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that "the helicopter couldn't fly" and that the Secret Service wouldn't drive him there. Neither claim was true.
Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers." In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as "suckers" for getting killed.
"Neither claim was true"? Actually, both claims were true. It was in the news after the press previously tried to create a brouhaha about it at the time.
But for Jeffrey Goldberg, who's reporting this "story," or rather, this "told a story," he's spinning a new narrative and calculating that readers won't remember what came before.
Most really good lies, like most heresies, start out with a kernel of truth, a hook, a little anchor. Goldberg cites then-candidate Trump's ill considered heated personal attack on John McCain, a former POW who served honorably in Vietnam, as "not a hero," adding "I like people who weren't captured" as his proof — as if nothing had ever happened between those ill-considered remarks and what we see now.
Trump made those stupid remarks because he was fighting with John McCain, who was serving as the errand boy for the now discredited Steele dossier around that time, and the only reason he got away with it is that voters, for multiple reasons, don't like McCain.
But Trump's never made disrespectful remarks about servicemen injured or killed in the line of duty. He's always celebrated servicemen and servicewomen. He's visited injured servicemen and made trips abroad to be with servicemen. One of the most notable things he's done has been to call in enlisted and noncommissioned soldiers and sailors to solicit their input about how to make things better in the service for them. He's beefed up the military budget and demanded military parades to celebrate events. He's celebrated military victories. He's raised military pay. He's also cared deeply for the welfare of soldiers and sailors — specially calling up the family of young servicewoman Vanessa Guillen, who was murdered by a sex-harassing stalker also in the military — and talking with them about a plan of reform. He's ordered Saudi "students" out of U.S. military facilities after one of them tried an al-Qaeda-style attack. He's put veterans first in the Veterans Administration, reducing waiting times and raising customer satisfaction. He's been ultra-respectful of the military brass, defending a naval commander who broadcast the presence of COVID on his ship to the press (and America's enemies) instead of up the chain of command, recognizing that if he was misguided, or "had a bad day," as Trump put it, he was trying to look out for the welfare of his sailors. Trump explicitly said he "didn't want to ruin" the captain's career with a relief of command. The captain was reinstated, and the naval bureaucrat who derided him was fired. If anything, Trump's been a little too solicitous and trusting of the Pentagon brass. He hired Deep-State political animals such as H.R. McMaster, Jim Mattis, and John Kelly, all of whom turned out to be major disappointments, with at least some of them compulsive plotters and leakers on the side.
Trump adores the military and honors America's heroes. He adores them so much that the left, up until now, has called him a "Nazi" for it, which is about par for the left. Now the canard is going out that he doesn't like them at all. It's another shape-shifting "narrative" unmoored in facts.
To claim that Trump would make remarks about not wanting to get his hair wet and would therefore refuse to visit a storied military cemetery in France because the dead all were "losers" defies belief. It's clearly false. Trump himself has utterly denied it, with an edge of fury, given all he has shown of his care for the military. And a lot of the people who were there, with names attached, said it was garbage, too. Breitbart has that story:
"What animal would say such a thing?" [Trump] asked.
"If people really exist that would have said that, they're lowlifes and they're liars," Trump said. "And I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects that more."
Several members of the White House team, who were present for the trip, also publicly denounced the story on Twitter.
"The Atlantic story on Donald Trump is total BS," wrote former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. "I was actually there and one of the people part of the discussion — this never happened."
Sanders said she was "disgusted" by the attack published in The Atlantic, recalling the moments that President Trump met with veterans.
"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," she said.
Jordan Karem, the president's body man during the trip, also weighed in on Twitter.
"Again, this is 100% false. I was next to the president the whole day!" he wrote. "The President was greatly disappointed when told we couldn't fly there. He was incredibly eager to honor our Fallen Heroes."
It's not just refuted by people willing to go on the record with names attached saying it, it's also completely out of the character to the voters who have observed President Trump's term.
Trump is a populist who is always looking out for the little guy - he hurls lots of insults, but he never insults ordinary people. His targets are pious media poobahs, assorted pompous asses in the celebrity-American community, Democratic opponents, and crazed leftists. He never attacks the little guy, which is the chief thing that distinguishes him from Mitt "46%" Romney, Hillary "deplorables" Clinton, Joe "Hey, fat" Biden, and Barack "bitter clingers" Obama.
It's a disgusting lie, and anyone who's been watching things will know it. That's it's reported anonymously makes it doubly disgusting, for who knows what these sources really said? And if they are out of power, why would they need to hide their identities anyway, except of course that they know they will be exposed as liars. Third, who knows if this whole thing hasn't been distorted from enemies out to Get Trump and willing to say anything to do it, or else completely made up? There's no names attached to this despicable slew of lies, so anything goes.
Which is why it ought to be treated with complete contempt. It's pretty creepy what kinds of lies you can get out there if you find the right media vehicle and hide behind the curtain of anonymity.
Image credit: CNN screen shot via shareable YouTube.