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FLOTUS Melania Busts Media Claims Trump Called US Military Veterans 'Suckers'

© REUTERS / KEVIN LAMARQUEU.S. first lady Melania Trump delivers her live address to the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 25, 2020
U.S. first lady Melania Trump delivers her live address to the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 25, 2020 - Sputnik International
On Thursday, a report by The Atlantic made international headlines claiming POTUS doesn't view US world war dead as heroes. As Fox News stated they could confirm the reporting, the Trump team pointed to a number of discrepancies between the initial information and the "confirmation".

Donald Trump has demanded that Fox News sack reporter Jennifer Griffin after she confirmed, citing her own sources, a politically explosive report in The Atlantic which claimed Trump had belittled war dead, dubbing military veterans "losers" and "suckers", as well as turned down a visit to a military cemetery in France in 2018 because of rain.

The president took to Twitter fuming that the Fox News story "did not confirm the most salacious part" of The Atlantic report that he had taken special aim at First and Second World War veterans dubbing them "losers" and had skipped visiting the graves of US soldiers in Belleau Wood because he feared his hair would be ruined by rain. His wife Melania, likewise, joined her husband's storm of disapproval, charging that The Atlantic story is simply not true.

"It has become a very dangerous time when anonymous sources are believed above all else, & no one knows their motivation", FLOTUS fumed, calling The Atlantic's reporting "not journalism" but rather "activism" and hence "a disservice to the people of our great nation".

Griffin said that she was told the president did indeed decide he didn't want to attend the rainy ceremony commemorating US war dead in France.

"The president drives a lot", Griffin shared her sources’ account, continuing:

"The other world leaders drove to the cemeteries. He just didn't want to go".

Two former senior officials also confirmed to her, she claimed, that the president had disparaged war dead. 

According to Griffin, one former senior Trump administration official told her:

"When the president spoke about the Vietnam War, he said, 'It was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker'". 

Griffin's sources confirmed that they heard Trump say he didn't very much welcome "wounded guys" in military parades, dropping in a bit to explain that "Americans don't like that".

A senior Defence Department official with first-hand knowledge of the events and a senior US Marine Corps officer who was told about Trump's comments confirmed some of the remarks to The Associated Press, including the 2018 cemetery comments. 

The Washington Post also confirmed The Atlantic's reporting, and stated that Jim Mattis, the former defence secretary, and John Kelly, the former chief of staff, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday – a fact that made Trump on Friday evening speculate that Kelly could have possibly been the source of the original report.

U.S. President Donald Trump points as he answers questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2020. - Sputnik International
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Meanwhile, the right-leaning website Breitbar claimed that POTUS has been vindicated because Griffin only reported her sources as saying Vietnam veterans were "suckers", while The Atlantic quoted him as calling WWI veterans that.

Breitbart also pointed to Griffin having been unable to independently confirm The Atlantic's story that Trump cancelled a planned trip to a war cemetery in Paris, in 2018, because he was concerned about his hair. Griffin was only able to confirm that he didn't want to go and chose not to. 

Trump also doubled down on his digs against the magazine, blasting The Atlantic's reporting as "filled with lies":

“The Atlantic magazine is dying, like most magazines, so they make up a fake story in order to gain some relevance", Trump tweeted angrily.

"Story already refuted, but this is what we are up against. Just like the Fake Dossier. You fight and and fight, and then people realize it was a total fraud", Trump went on, ripping the report as he met with the president of Serbia and the prime minister of Kosovo at the White House on Friday.

"It was a terrible thing that somebody could say the kind of things – especially to me, because I've done more for the military than almost anybody else", Trump said, remarking that his former national security aide John Bolton, who earlier penned a book trashing the Trump administration, dwelled on the cemetery incident but didn't mention any derogatory rants by Trump against military veterans. Bolton wrote that Marine One's crew at the time deemed it "imprudent" to fly by helicopter due to the weather, while the drive would be 90 minutes each way.

White House deputy communications director Brian Morganstern retweeted a respective passage from Bolton's book, similar to White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah. 

The latter also blasted The Atlantic article as "offensive & patently false".

Another White House press official, Judd Deere, took particular aim at people who contradicted accounts in the article.

"Anyone else notice that there are now four individuals with first-hand knowledge who are ON THE RECORD denying The Atlantic story? This matches the publication's four anonymous sources. Will The Atlantic stand by their false anonymous reporting or listen to those who were there?, he queried.
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