President Donald Trump on Thursday night denied in a series of tweets reports that he had mocked the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and fallen soldiers behind closed doors.
In response to the Atlantic’s report that he had complained about lowering flags in honor of the senator’s death in 2018, Trump conceded that he was “never a big fan” of McCain but insisted that he had the flags lowered “without hesitation or complaint.”
The President also denied calling McCain a “fucking loser” and deriding the marines who died in the Battle of Belleau Wood as “suckers.”
“Also, I never called John a loser and swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES,” Trump tweeted. “This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election!”
White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah said the report “has no basis in fact.”
“This report is false,” she said in a statement. “President Trump holds the military in the highest regard.”
“It’s sad the depths that people will go to during a lead-up to a presidential campaign to try to smear somebody,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, per the Associated Press.
Whether or not he denies the veracity of the Atlantic’s report, Trump did publicly call McCain a “loser” in 2015 for losing the presidential race against Barack Obama in 2008.
Earlier on Thursday, the Atlantic reported that Trump had grown angry at the sight of the lowered flags for McCain at the time of his death and asked aides “What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser.”
The Atlantic also reported that the President refused to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France in 2018 because he was worried the rain would ruin his hair.
“Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,” he reportedly said.
Senior defense officials confirmed Trump’s remarks to the Associated Press shortly after the Atlantic published its report.
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