U.S. President Donald Trump is facing a backlash over reports that he mocked American soldiers killed in action as “losers” and “suckers.”
The alleged comments were first reported in Atlantic magazine, And some details were confirmed by the Associated Press and Fox News.
But the president and his allies have denied the allegations.
Veterans groups were among those who attacked the president over the reports.
Progressive group Vodvets Released a video of families whose children were killed. “You don’t know what sacrifice is,” says one.
Paul Rickoff of Iraq & US soldiers in Afghanistan, Tweeted: “Who is really surprised to see this?”
Analysts say these comments could have an impact as the president needs the support of military voters when bidding for re-election.
What is Trump said to say?
According to the Atlantic newspaper, Mr Trump canceled a visit to an American cemetery outside Paris in 2018 because it was “full of losers”.
Four Sources rejected the idea of his visit to the press because he did not believe that rain would blow his hair out and that it was important to honor those who died in the American war.
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During the same voyage, the President referred to the 1,800 American soldiers who died in Bellewood as “absorbers.” This war helped stop a German advance in Paris during World War I and is revered by the American Marine Corps.
In 2018 The White House said the visit was canceled because bad weather had landed the president’s helicopter. The account is backed by John Bolton, a former national security adviser to President Trump who was a voice critic of Mr Trump.
The Atlantic report is based on anonymous sources, but The Associated Press said it had independently confirmed several comments. A Fox News reporter confirmed some of the comments.
What is the reaction?
On top of veterans’ comments, President Trump’s challenge in the November presidential election, Joe Biden, responded that he was “unfit” to lead his rival.
“If the article is true – it seems to be based on other things he said – it’s completely absurd. It’s a shame.”
Dummy Duckworth, a senior Democratic senator who lost both legs while serving in Iraq, said President Trump “wants to use the U.S. military for his own ego.”
Kisr Khan, the father of an American soldier killed in Iraq Critic of Mr. Trump during the 2016 Democratic Conference, Joined Ms Duckworth on the call.
He said: “When Donald Trump calls anyone who puts their life in the service of others a loser, we understand Trump’s soul.”
How does the White House fight the story?
President Trump has strongly backed down on these statements, calling them “fake news.”
“With budgets, with military budgets, when no one is doing what I did using pay raises for our army, I think I will issue negative statements to our military and fallen heroes,” he said. “It’s a horrible newspaper. It’s a disgraceful situation for a newspaper.”
Speaking to reporters on Friday, he said the source of the story was his former White House chief of staff John Kelly. Mr Trump said the former U.S. Marine General “could not handle the pressure of this job.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Friday morning that he had been with the president for a good part of his trip to France and had never heard of the use of words described in the article.
Although the Pentagon chief did not explicitly deny the story, Mr Trump was quoted by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Politico as “having the highest respect and admiration for our country’s military members, soldiers and families.”
Another former White House president, Mick Mulwane, and former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Saunders, who were in Mr. Trump’s orbit, dismissed the story as false.
Where do Trump and the US military stand?
The U.S. president often seeks strong support from the military, and last year the Pew Research Center found that veterans generally support him as commander-in-chief. 57% in favor. Five-thirds of the veterans identified as Republicans, the research found.
But there were previous breaks and controversies.
He was outraged that the late Senator John McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was not a “warrior”: “I want people who are not captured.”
President Trump has never served in uniform. He received five deferrals from a military draft during the Vietnam War – four for educational reasons and one for bone stimulation, one built in calcium heels.