Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’

SEPTEMBER 3, 2020

The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades...


image Donald Trump greets families of the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017.

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.

Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies.

Trump’s understanding of concepts such as patriotism, service, and sacrifice has interested me since he expressed contempt for the war record of the late Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in 2015 while running for the Republican nomination for president. “I like people who weren’t captured.”

There was no precedent in American politics for the expression of this sort of contempt, but the performatively patriotic Trump did no damage to his candidacy by attacking McCain in this manner. Nor did he set his campaign back by attacking the parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Trump remained fixated on McCain, one of the few prominent Republicans to continue criticizing him after he won the nomination. When McCain died, in August 2018, Trump told his senior staff, according to three sources with direct knowledge of this event, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,” and he became furious, according to witnesses, when he saw flags lowered to half-staff. “What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser,” the president told aides. Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral. (These sources, and others quoted in this article, spoke on condition of anonymity. The White House did not return earlier calls for comment, but Alyssa Farah, a White House spokesperson, emailed me this statement shortly after this story was posted: “This report is false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn: delivering on his promise to give our troops a much needed pay raise, increasing military spending, signing critical veterans reforms, and supporting military spouses. This has no basis in fact.”)

Trump’s understanding of heroism has not evolved since he became president. According to sources with knowledge of the president’s views, he seems to genuinely not understand why Americans treat former prisoners of war with respect. Nor does he understand why pilots who are shot down in combat are honored by the military. On at least two occasions since becoming president, according to three sources with direct knowledge of his views, Trump referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a “loser” for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II. (Bush escaped capture, but eight other men shot down during the same mission were caught, tortured, and executed by Japanese soldiers.)

When lashing out at critics, Trump often reaches for illogical and corrosive insults, and members of the Bush family have publicly opposed him. But his cynicism about service and heroism extends even to the World War I dead buried outside Paris—people who were killed more than a quarter century before he was born. Trump finds the notion of military service difficult to understand, and the idea of volunteering to serve especially incomprehensible. (The president did not serve in the military; he received a medical deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War because of the alleged presence of bone spurs in his feet. In the 1990s, Trump said his efforts to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases constituted his “personal Vietnam.”)

On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.

“He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” one of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told me. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” Kelly’s friend went on to say, “Trump can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.”


Trump has been, for the duration of his presidency, fixated on staging military parades, but only of a certain sort. In a 2018 White House planning meeting for such an event, Trump asked his staff not to include wounded veterans, on grounds that spectators would feel uncomfortable in the presence of amputees. “Nobody wants to see that,” he said.


https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/09/trump-americans-who-died-at-war-are-losers-and-suckers/615997/

Comments

  • Fox News Correspondent: Two Top Officials Who Were on France Trip With Trump ‘Confirmed to Me Key Details’ of Atlantic Report

    Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin said Friday she spoke with two top officials who confirmed “key details” of the stunning report in The Atlantic about alleged comments of President Donald Trump’s about dead soldiers.

    Griffin said Friday, “I’ve spoken with two U.S. senior officials who were on the trip to France who confirmed to me key details in the Atlantic article and the quotes attributed to the president.”

    One of those sources — a former Trump administration official — apparently told Griffin that Trump said of Vietnam, “It was a stupid war. Anyone that went was a sucker.”

    Griffin continued:

    “The president would say about American veterans, ‘What’s in it for them? They don’t make any money.’ The source said, ‘It was a character flaw of the President: he could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it.’

    Regarding the French trip to mark the end of WWI, according to this former official, the president was not in a good mood. French President Macron had said something that made him mad, he questioned why he had to go to two cemeteries. ‘Why do I have to do two?’ His staff explained he could cancel, but he was warned they — they press — are going to kill you for this. The president was mad as a hornet when they did, according to this source.”

    This same former official also told Griffin that there was no security reason not to drive to the cemetery.

    Griffin also reported, “Regarding the president’s July 4th military parade planning, during a planning session at the White House after seeing the Bastille Day parade in 2017, President Trump said regarding the inclusion of wounded guys, ‘That’s not a good look. Americans don’t like that.'”

    https://www.mediaite.com/tv/fox-news-correspondent-two-top-officials-who-were-on-france-trip-with-trump-confirmed-to-me-key-details-of-atlantic-report/amp/?fbclid=IwAR1j3qmQzMqM1W2OQLoUCk04T2TpYaAp6XQziGqrn2hrmiWlyC11aUqr_70
  • Whites always create wars amonsts themselves and have others get involved.Europeans as a whole are suckers and losers.
  • And you can make racist statements because you are a Nobody?
  • @FactsMatter/Can't be racists when it's truth.The last two "great" wars were started by Europeans.Following that,every kind of conflict can be traced back to your folks.
  • @MrNobody905/ You might want to learn some basic world history before you spout racist generalizations about "whites.".

    For example, which country attacked Hawaii on December 7, 1941 causing the U.S. to declare war?

    (Hint: It was not a European country.)


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