US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that President Donald Trump respects American troops and veterans after a magazine report said Trump had called fallen US military personnel buried in Europe “losers” and declined to visit an American cemetery because he thought it unimportant.
“President Trump has the highest respect and admiration for our nation’s military members, veterans and families. That is why he has fought for greater pay and more funding for our armed forces,” Esper said in a statement.
Trump on Thursday strongly denied the report from the Atlantic magazine.
The Atlantic reported that Trump, a Republican running for re-election who has touted his record helping US veterans, had referred to Marines buried in an American cemetery near Paris as “losers” and declined to visit in 2018 because of concern the rain that day would mess up his hair. The Atlantic report was sourced to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion of that day.
“To think that I would make statements negative to our military and fallen heroes when nobody has done what I’ve done,” for the US armed forces, Trump said. “It’s a total lie. ... It’s a disgrace.”
The president said he did not go to the cemetery because weather prevented a helicopter flight. The alternative, a long drive, would have meant going through very busy areas of Paris, and the Secret Service objected, he said.
A senior defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Esper had not heard of the allegations made in the Atlantic until today.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who is leading Trump in national polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, said that, if true, the comments were “deplorable.”
“It is absolutely damnable,” Biden said. “It’s a disgrace.”
White House says China has the largest program to interfere in US electionsThe White House said Friday that China had the largest program among countries seeking to interfere in the upcoming US presidential elections.“We know ... World News
US elections: Moderators for Trump-Biden debates announced, dates setThe moderators of the upcoming debates between US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, were announced Wednesday by the ... Television & Radio
US elections: Biden rebukes Trump and distances himself from violence, ‘radical left’Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivered one of his most scathing attacks against US President Donald Trump Monday as he attempted to ... World News