President Trump reportedly skipped his scheduled visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 after dismissing the U.S. soldiers who died during the Battle of Bellaeu Wood as “losers.”
According to a report in The Atlantic published Thursday, Trump’s excuses of “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him to the cemetery in France due to the rain were false claims.
Citing four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day, The Atlantic reported that the President was reluctant to pay a visit to the cemetery in France honoring slain American soldiers because of concerns that his hair would become disheveled in the rain.
Additionally, Trump reportedly mocked the soldiers who died during the Battle of Bellaeu Wood during a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit.
“Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,” Trump said, according to The Atlantic.
The Atlantic also reported that Trump characterized the more than 1,800 marines who died in the Battle of Belleau Wood as “suckers” during a separate conversation on the same trip. Trump also asked aides, “who were the good guys in this war?” and expressed that he didn’t understand why the U.S. would intervene on the side of the Allies.
The Battle of Belleau Wood in the spring of 1918 proved to be consequential in that it was the first large-scale battle fought by American soldiers in World War I. The U.S. Marines and Allied forces had stopped the German advance toward Paris in the forested area. After weeks of the Marines launching attacks, Americans prevailed, but at the cost of nearly 10,000 dead, wounded, or missing in action.
Trump’s reported mockery of the slain soldiers in the Battle of Belleau Woods wouldn’t be the first time he’s dismissed the notion of honoring military veterans.
While running his presidential campaign in 2015, Trump said that the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — who was known as one of the few prominent Republicans vehemently critical of Trump and spent more than five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese — is “not a war hero” and that he “likes people who weren’t captured.”
Upon McCain’s death in 2018, Trump told his senior staff that “we’re not going to support that loser’s funeral” and he reportedly fumed when he saw flags lowered to half-staff after the late senator’s death, according to three sources who spoke to The Atlantic.
“What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser,” Trump, who wasn’t invited to McCain’s funeral, told aides, according to The Atlantic.