Did Trump mock dead US soldiers as ‘Suckers’ and ‘Losers’?!

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Did Donald Trump mock dead US soldiers, referring to them as “suckers” and “losers” to his inner circle?! Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Trump Mocked Dead US Soldiers As “Suckers”, “Losers”!

People are sharing a video by The Daily Show, which claimed that Donald Trump mocked dead US soldiers, and referred to them as “suckers” and “losers” to his inner circle!

On X (formerly Twitter), some Community Notes referred to a Snopes fact check as “evidence” that Donald Trump never mocked fallen American soldiers as “suckers” and “losers”.

So who is correct? Did Donald Trump really mock dead US soldiers as “suckers” and “losers”, or is that yet another example of fake news circulating on social media?

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Trump Likely Mocked Dead US Soldiers As “Suckers”, “Losers”!

Let’s take a closer look, and find out why Donald Trump likely mocked dead US soldiers as “suckers” and “losers” to his inner circles…

Fact #1 : Snopes Did Not Debunk It As Fake News

Let me start by pointing out that Snopes did not actually debunk the claim as “fake news”, as some X Community Notes have suggested.

The Snopes article merely pointed out that it was “unable to independently verify the claim“.

In short – Snopes neither confirmed, nor debunked, the claim that Donald Trump mocked fallen US soldiers as “suckers” and/or “losers” to his inner circle.

Fact #2 : Trump Cancelled WW1 Memorial Visit

The controversy stem from then President Donald Trump’s visit to Paris in 2018, where he and First Lady Melania Trump were supposed to pay their respects at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau, France.

At the last minute, the White House said that the planned visit had been “canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather“. President Trump spent that Saturday afternoon watching television in the US ambassador’s residence instead, while his Chief of Staff, General John F. Kelly visited the cemetery on his behalf.

Jeffrey Goldberg, the Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic then famously reported that Trump declined to visit the cemetery because of how his hair would look, and because “it’s filled with losers”. He allegedly referred to dead Marines as “suckers” for getting killed.

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.

Trump vehemently denied The Atlantic‘s account, but what is indisputable is that Donald Trump did not attend the planned trip to the World War 1 memorial, and was replaced by John Kelly.

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John F Kelly and Joseph F Dunford Jr paying respects at Aisne-Marne American Cemetary November 2018
John F. Kelly (L) and General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. paying respects at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, November 2018. Photo credit : Francois Mori, Associated Press

Fact #3 : Trump Claimed He Called Melania At Home…

Bizarrely, when Donald Trump denied The Atlantic‘s account, he claimed that he “called home” to tell Melania Trump how upset he was for not being able to visit the cemetery.

I called home, I spoke to my wife and I said ‘I hate this. I came here to go to that ceremony.’ And to the one that was the following day which I did go to. I said I feel terribly. And that was the end of it.

That would be quite a feat since Melania Trump was not at “home” in the United States. She was not only in France with Trump, she was in fact scheduled to visit the cemetery with him that afternoon!

In addition, both Donald and Melania Trump attended a state dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron later that evening. Did he forget that as well?

Instead of calling home, Donald Trump would have been able to directly express his deep sadness to Melania at not being able to pay his respects to the men who sacrificed their lives in World War I. If he actually called home – who was he speaking to???

Fact #4 : The Atlantic Story Was Corroborated

I should point out that The Atlantic sourced the story from “four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day“.

In addition, the Associated Press independently corroborated the 2018 cemetery comments with “a senior Defense Department official with firsthand knowledge of events and a senior U.S. Marine Corps officer who was told about Trump’s comments”, with our emphasis in bold.

The defense officials said Trump made the comments as he begged off visiting the cemetery outside Paris during a meeting following his presidential daily briefing on the morning of Nov. 10, 2018.

Staffers from the National Security Council and the Secret Service told Trump that rainy weather made helicopter travel to the cemetery risky, but they could drive there.

Trump responded by saying he didn’t want to visit the cemetery because it was “filled with losers,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Perhaps that’s why the famously litigious Donald Trump did not sue The Atlantic, or Jeffrey Goldberg? He also did not sue the Associated Press for confirming what The Atlantic posted!

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Fact #5 : John Kelly Confirmed The Atlantic’s Account

On 3 October 2023, Trump’s former Chief of Staff John, John F. Kelly, confirmed a number of damning stories about his former boss, including calling dead US soldiers “suckers” and “losers”.

When CNN asked John Kelly to give his opinions on Donald Trump, in light of comments made by other former Trump officials, this was what he said (our emphasis in bold):

What can I add that has not already been said?

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.’

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

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.

A person who is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women.

A person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about.

A person who cavalierly suggests that a selfless warrior who has served his country for 40 years in peacetime and war should lose his life for treason – in expectation that someone will take action.

A person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law.

There is nothing more that can be said. God help us.

While John F. Kelly never actually said that he directly heard then President Donald Trump make those comments, he appears to confirm the Atlantic’s account that Trump mocked dead US soldiers, and called them “suckers” and “losers”.

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Fact #6 : Trump Has Long Scorned Soldiers

I should point out that there is no known audio or video recording of Donald Trump calling dead US soldiers “suckers” or “losers”. However, Trump has a long history of disparaging military veterans, especially those who served in Vietnam.

For example, numerous Trump officials confirmed that the then-President resisted an official funeral and lowering the flags after the death of Senator John McCain of Arizona, a Vietnam War hero whose military service he had disparaged.

When Donald Trump later claimed that he never called John McCain “a loser”, and would swear on that, his own Twitter post, and a video recording, showed him doing exactly that.

On Memorial Day 2017, President Donald Trump visited the Arlington National Cemetery with John Kelly, whose son, Robert Kelly, is buried there. While standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, Trump turned to his Kelly and remarked, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?

Based on his long history of lying, and disparaging military veterans, it seems more likely than not, that Donald Trump did indeed mock US soldiers, and more likely than not called them “suckers” and “losers”.

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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