- A bombshell report from The Atlantic claims that President Donald Trump has made numerous derogatory remarks about U.S. veterans and military service members, including calling soldiers who died in the World War I battle at Belleau Wood “suckers” for getting killed.
- The report also claimed that he called the late senator John McCain a “loser” after his death. He also allegedly said that he did not want wounded veterans to participate in a 2018 military parade because “nobody wants to see that.”
- The report caught a lot of attention and resulted in many, including Trump’s Democratic opponent Joe Biden, condemning the president for these remarks.
- However, Trump claims the report is a lie. He tweeted that while he was “never a big fan of John McCain,” he never called him a loser. “I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES,” the president added.
Trump Denies Report From The Atlantic
President Donald Trump denied allegations laid out in a Thursday report from The Atlantic which claimed he made insulting comments about veterans and members of the U.S. military.
The report alleges that Trump, among many other things, called servicemen who died in the World War I battle at Belleau Wood “suckers” for getting killed. In 2018 he was set to visit the cemetery in France where they were buried but canceled the trip. At the time, Trump cited that travel to the area was made impossible by rainy weather conditions. However, The Atlantic claims that the president did not go because he was concerned the rain would ruin his hair.
“Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,” the magazine claims he asked about the excursion. Jeffrey Goldberg, who wrote the piece, says he learned about these remarks from four anonymous sources with firsthand knowledge of these discussions.
The report also claimed that he called the late senator John McCain a “loser” after he died.
Trump and McCain were known to have publicly sparred with each other before. McCain was a prisoner of war for five years and many have praised him as a war hero. During Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, however, he said he likes “people who weren’t captured” when referring to McCain.
On Thursday evening, Trump took to Twitter to deny the accusations in the article. In a Twitter thread, he said he was “never a big fan of John McCain” but “never called John a loser.”
“[I] swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES,” he added. “This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election!”
He also spoke to reporters late on Thursday and claimed that no one has done what he has for the military in terms of budgets and pay raises. He also insisted that the Secret Service told him he could not go to the cemetery in France because of the weather.
“To think that I would make statements negative to our military and our fallen heroes, when nobody’s done what I’ve done,” Trump said.
“It is a disgraceful situation by a magazine that’s a terrible magazine. I don’t read it,” he added.
The president continued his attacks against the report Friday morning by saying The Atlantic only published it to gain relevance because it was dying.
What Did the Report Say?
The Atlantic’s bombshell report paints the president as a man incapable of seeing why people, specifically military members, would make a sacrifice and put their life on the line for nothing in return. The piece goes so far as to claim he does not understand why anyone would do anything that gives them no monetary gain.
Trump himself received a medical deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War for alleged bone spurs. Accounts from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, as well as from the daughters of the doctor who allegedly gave him this diagnosis, have since claimed that Trump did not have bone spurs and lied to get out of the war. White House officials have dismissed these claims.
The Atlantic told the story of one visit Trump made to Arlington National Cemetery with John Kelly, who was the Secretary of Homeland Security at the time. Kelly’s son Robert, who died in Afghanistan in 2010, is buried there. During the visit Trump allegedly asked Kelly, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”
“He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” one of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told The Atlantic. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.”
The report also claims that Trump made several other derogatory remarks about military members, including calling former President George H.W. Bush a “loser” because he was shot down by the Japanese while serving as a navy pilot in World War II. When planning a military parade in 2018, he allegedly asked that wounded veterans not participate because “nobody wants to see that.”
Corroborations From Other Reports
While both Trump and the White House have denied this repellant portrait, other stories seemed to support the idea that Trump does not think well of members of the U.S. military. The Associated Press said a senior U.S. Marine Corps officer confirmed some of the remarks reported in The Atlantic to them, including those about the 2018 trip to the cemetery.
A former senior administration official who spoke to The Washington Post also claimed Trump called soldiers missing in action “losers.” He allegedly asked why the U.S. spends so much time looking for them because they deserved what they got for performing poorly. The Post also claimed that Trump called those who served in Vietnam “losers” because they were unable to get out of it.
Michael Cohen also tweeted that The Atlantic’s piece was “accurate.” He again maintained that there are no medical records related to Trump’s bone spurs.
The Atlantic’s article elicited numerous reactions after catching the nation’s attention. His Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, shared a video compilation of Trump’s derogatory remarks.
“Mr. President, if you don’t respect our troops, you can’t lead them,” Biden wrote.
“This is shocking, even for Trump,” Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote. “The men and women who lost their lives defending our country are patriots.”
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan called Trump’s attitude towards service members repugnant and asked for the president to be voted out of office.
His comments also received backlash from veterans, service members, and their families. Jordan Canedy, a 14-year-old Gold Star son condemned these remarks in an interview with MSNBC.
“He should be appreciative and not criticizing them,” he said. “He doesn’t know what it’s like to go to war.”
Army veteran David Weissman, who used to be an ardent supporter of Trump, started a social media campaign against the president over these remarks. He encouraged veterans to make pictures of themselves in the military their profile photos so they could show Trump how many people he offended.
In Trump’s camp though, many defended the president, insisting that The Atlantic’s report was false. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Trump treats military members with admiration and respect.
“The anonymous allegations contained in the Atlantic story are offensive, false, and utterly devoid of merit,” he said.
See what others are saying: (The Atlantic) (NPR) (Al Jazeera)
Biden Outlines $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan
- President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief stimulus proposal on Thursday.
- Under the plan, $1 trillion would go to direct relief for Americans. This includes a round of $1,400 stimulus checks, an extension and $400 weekly increase to federal unemployment benefits, and a $15 minimum wage.
- The proposal would also allocate $440 billion for aid to local governments and businesses, as well as provide $400 billion to directly fight the coronavirus with more testing and vaccinations, among other efforts.
Biden Outlines Direct Aid in Stimulus Plan
President-elect Joe Biden announced the details of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief stimulus package while speaking at an event in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday.
Biden described the package, titled “American Rescue Plan,” as a set of emergency measures to immediately address the country’s economic and healthcare needs. The package will be followed by a second, broader relief package in February, which will aim to address more long-term economic recovery efforts.
Most significantly, $1 trillion — more than half of the funding allocated in the first package — will go to direct relief for Americans. Among other measures, the direct aid provisions in the plan include increasing federal unemployment benefits from $300 a week to $400 a week and extending them from March to September.
Biden’s plan also includes $1,400 stimulus checks to top off the $600 already approved in the December stimulus package. However, eligibility for the direct payments would be expanded to families of non-citizen immigrants as well as families with adult dependents.
Additionally, the proposal includes several other measures targeted at directly helping struggling Americans, such as raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, adding billions in funding for child care, and expanding the child tax credit to poor and middle-class families.
As for the broader economic and pandemic-centered measures, Biden’s package would allocate $440 billion for aid to states, local governments, and businesses. It would also provide $400 billion to directly fight the coronavirus, with a major focus on expanding testing and accelerating vaccine distribution.
Biden has set the dual goals of delivering 100 million vaccines and reopening the majority of K-12 public schools in his first 100 days. To meet that objective, his plan includes $20 billion for a universal vaccination program, $50 billion to expand testing, and $130 billion to help schools reopen safely.
The proposal, overall, meets many of the demands for direct aid that Democrats have pushed for months but have been unable to approve with the Republican-controlled Senate. Now that Democrats hold the presidency and control of both chambers, many members have urged Biden to ask for an even higher price tag.
Biden, for his part, has said he would like to try for a bipartisan majority on his first piece of legislation, but given Republicans months-long resistance to many Democratic asks, that desire is likely a pipe-dream.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNN)
Democrats Ask for Investigation into GOP Members Aiding Rioters
- More than 30 House Democrats signed a letter Wednesday demanding that security officials look into “suspicious behavior and access given to visitors” at the Capitol the day before last week’s insurrection.
- The lawmakers claimed they “witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups” visiting, including guests who “appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day.”
- The letter comes one day after Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) accused her Republican colleagues of bringing rioters into the Capitol the day before for “reconnaissance.”
- Notably, neither the letter nor Sherill herself directly named any members, and these claims have not yet been verified.
Demands for Investigation
Congressional Democrats are demanding an investigation into whether Republican representatives aided the Capitol rioters who lead last Wednesday’s insurrection.
In a letter signed by 31 members Wednesday, lawmakers asked the acting House and Senate Sergeants at Arms to look into “suspicious behavior and access given to visitors” the day right before the attack.
In that letter, the Democrats say that they as well as some of their staffers “witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups” visiting the Capitol.
They pointed out that was unusual because the building has restricted public access since March as part of pandemic protocols. Since then, tourists have only been allowed to enter the Capitol if they were brought in by a member of Congress.
The members found the tours “so concerning” that they reported them to the Sergeant at Arms the same day.
“The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day,” the letter continued. “Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex.”
The demands come after Rep. Mikie Sherrill (R-NJ) claimed during a Facebook livestream Tuesday that she saw Republican representatives bringing now-identified rioters into the Capitol the day before the riots for “reconnaissance.” Sherrill also alleged that some of her GOP colleagues “abetted” Trump and “incited this violent crowd.”
Members Under Fire
Neither the letter nor Sherill have directly named any members, and none of these claims have yet been verified. However, over the last few days, a number of Republicans have been condemned for their perceived involvement in inciting the rioters.
In a now-deleted video, right-wing conspiracy theorist and “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander claimed he had planned the rally that took place before the riot with the help of three House Republicans: Paul Gosar (Az.), Andy Biggs (Az.), and Mo Brooks (Al.). All three men voted to undermine the will of the American people and throw out the electoral votes in Arizona following the insurrection.
Biggs and Brooks have both denied that they have any involvement, but Gosar, who tagged Alexander in a tweet he posted just hours before the attack, has not responded to any requests for comment from several outlets.
“Biden should concede,” Gosar wrote. “I want his concession on my desk tomorrow morning. Don’t make me come over there. #StopTheSteaI2021”
While Brooks has denied any involvement in planning the rally, his remarks to the would-be domestic terrorists at the event have sparked widespread condemnation.
“Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” he told the crowd. “Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America?”
Some House Democrats introduced resolutions to censure Brooks for his comments. Other members have also been pushing to invoke Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, a relic of the post-Civil War era which disqualifies people who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. from holding public office.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) has also received 47 co-sponsored on her proposed resolution that would start investigations for “removal of the members who attempted to overturn the results of the election and incited a white supremacist attempted coup.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNN)
House Impeaches Trump By Largest Bipartisan Margin in History
- The House voted to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday for “inciting an insurrection,” making him the first-ever president to be impeached twice.
- Ten Republicans broke party ranks to vote in favor of impeachment, which means this is the most bipartisan impeachment in U.S. history.
- Ahead of the vote, sources close to Senate Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he was pleased Democrats were moving forward with a vote because it will make it easier to “purge” Trump from the party.
- McConnel later said he has not yet decided whether he will vote to convict Trump. Still, he has refused to convene the Senate before Jan. 19, meaning that as of now, there is little chance that the Senate will conduct a trial and oust Trump before his term ends.
House Debates Impeachment
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 232 to 197 to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday for “inciting an insurrection,” making him the first-ever president to be impeached twice.
All Democrats voted in favor of the single article. They were also joined by 10 Republicans, which means this is the most bipartisan impeachment in U.S. history.
The decision was debated on the floor after Vice President Pence rejected Democrats’ calls to invoke the 25th amendment and remove Trump from office.
Most notable among the Republican members who voted to impeach was Liz Cheney (R-WY), the number three House Republican who announced her decision Tuesday night.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” she said in a statement.
Questionable Path in Senate
No Republican Senators have publicly said they support removing Trump from office.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that sources close to Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he “has told associates that he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the party.”
Sources separately told Axios that “there’s a better than 50-50 chance” that McConnell would vote to convict Trump.
McConnell responded to the reports earlier on Wednesday but did not outright dispute many of the claims.
“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” he said.
As for whether or not other members of the GOP would follow suit, a top Republican close to McConnell also told Axios that “Senate institutional loyalists are fomenting a counterrevolution” to Trump.
Additionally, McConnell’s advisers have said that he has “privately speculated that a dozen Republican senators — and possibly more — could ultimately vote to convict.” Notably, it would most likely require 17 Republicans to join Democrats in order for Trump to be found guilty.
In regards to a timeline, the Senate is in recess and not set to reconvene until Jan. 19, the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration. McConnell has rejected calls to ask that members return before then, meaning that as of right now there is very little chance that the Senate will conduct a trial and oust Trump before he leaves office.