President Donald Trump denies making disparaging remarks about fallen troops, but former senior administration officials backed claims made in a new report about his demeaning attitude toward military service members.
The former senior administration, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post that Trump frequently disparaged veterans and soldiers who were missing in action, and sometimes referred to them as "losers."
"In one account," the newspaper reported, "the president told senior advisers that he didn’t understand why the U.S. government placed such value on finding soldiers missing in action because they had performed poorly and gotten caught and deserved what they got, according to a person familiar with the discussion."
The president also believed Vietnam veterans were "losers" because they hadn't gotten out of serving, as he did, according to one person familiar with his remarks.
Trump received a medical deferment from Vietnam due to alleged bone spurs.
According to one source, Trump complained bitterly to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly that he didn't understand the reverence for Sen. John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner during the Vietnam War.
“Isn’t he kind of a loser?” Trump asked, according to that person.
Trump has publicly criticized McCain, who died in August 2018, for years, and mocked his captivity in the earliest weeks of his entry into the Republican presidential race.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said at the Family Leadership Summit in July 2015. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
The Atlantic reported late Thursday that Trump called slain service members "suckers" and "losers," and refused to attend a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I because he was worried that his hair would be mussed in the rain.