Trump continues to fight an anonymous smear published in left-wing magazine The Atlantic, owned by major Democrat donor Laurene Jobs, alleging that he made offensive comments about fallen U.S. service-members, including calling World War I dead at an American military cemetery in France “losers” and “suckers” in 2018.
Several former and current Trump administration officials who were on the trip, including former National Security Advisor John Bolton — who is now a foe of the president — deny he said it.
“According to what that article said, the president made disparaging remarks about soldiers and people buried in the cemetery in connection with the decision for him not to go to the ceremony that was planned that afternoon, and that was simply false,” Bolton said on Fox News Monday. “I don’t know who told the author that, but that was false.”
At a White House news conference Monday, Trump repeated his claim that the story was a “hoax” and said: “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me. The soldiers are.”
However, he added, “The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper, whom Trump appointed, was defense contractor Raytheon Co.’s chief Washington lobbyist before he became Army secretary in 2017.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.