A furious Joe Biden called Donald Trump's reported comments on American troops 'disgusting' and called on the president to apologize to Gold Star families who lost a loved one in service to the country.
Biden used several tough words to condemn the president in one of his harshest attacks to date on Trump: 'sick, disgrace, deplorable, un-American, unpatriotic.'
He said if the reported comments were accurate then they were 'absolutely damnable.'
'It's a disgrace,' he added.
A furious Joe Biden called President Trump's reported comments on American troops 'disgusting' and called on him to apologize
Joe Biden said his son Beau and other service members who served in the military were not 'losers' or suckers'; Biden is seen with his son Beau in July 2009 at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad - Beau died in 2015 of brain cancer
Biden, scheduled to give an economic speech, instead started off by blasting Trump for a report in The Atlantic that quoted unnamed military sources claiming the president called those who served in the military and died in uniform were 'losers' and suckers.'
Noting his son, Beau, served in the Army, Biden pounded the podium as he roared against Trump, demanding 'who the heck does he think he is?'
'Let me be real clear. When my son was an assistant U.S. Attorney and volunteered to go to Kosovo while the war was going on as a civilian, he wasn't a sucker. My son volunteered and joined the United States military as the attorney general, went to Iraq for a year, won the bronze star and other commendations. He wasn't a sucker,' Biden said, his voice growing louder as he spoke.
'The service men and women he served with, particularly those that didn't come home, were not losers. If these statements are true, the president should humbly apologize to every Gold Star mother and father, every Blue Star family that he's denigrated and insulted. Who the heck does he think he is?,' he said.
Beau Biden served in the Delaware Army National Guard. For his service in Iraq - from October 2008 to September 2009 - he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. After Beau died in 2015 of brain cancer, Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno delivered the eulogy at his funeral and presented a posthumous Legion of Merit for his service.
'I'm always cautioned not to lose my temper,' Biden said of his criticism of Trump. 'This may be as close as I come this campaign.'
'Just a marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role of the president of the United States of America,' he added.
He said he carries his son's medal with him but was too emotional to bring it with him to his speech, afraid of what he'd say.
'I carry and I deliberately didn't bring with me today, Delaware National Guard had a pin made up that is a gold star made up for my son, Beau,' he said. 'I always carry it with me. I didn't carry it today because I was worried that if I focused too much on it that I would engage in some of the kind of language that the president has used. I just think it is sick. It is deplorable. It's so un-American. It's so unpatriotic.'
He said it was the government's responsibility to care for and honor American service members and Trump failed in that obligation.
'We have one truly sacred obligation. Equip and support those we send in harm's way, care for families while they're gone and care for them when they're home. The only truly sacred obligation the government has. Duty, honor, country. These are values that drive our service members. It's an all voluntary outfit. President Trump has demonstrated he has no sense of service. No loyalty to any cause other than himself,' he said.
Joe Biden attacked President Trump in some of his harshest words to date, calling his reported comments on the troops 'sick, disgrace, deplorable, un-American, unpatriotic.'
Joe Biden said he carries his son Beau's medal with him every day but didn't bring it to his speech as he was afraid it would set him off even more
He went on to praise American troops as the 'backbone of America.'
'These folks are the backbone of America. They're the heart, the soul, the grit. That's what patriotism is about. I've just never been disappointed in my whole career with a leader that I have worked with, president or otherwise that if the article is true and a appears to be based on the things he said, it's absolutely damnable. It's a disgrace,' he said.
Meanwhile, the White House is furiously fighting back against the politically explosive report that the president called U.S. military heroes killed in battle 'losers' and 'suckers' – and turned down a trip to visit U.S. war dead in France due to the rain.
President Trump rejoined the fray on Friday, attacking the Atlantic magazine, which published the report that he termed 'fake.'
'The Atlantic Magazine is dying, like most magazines, so they make up a fake story in order to gain some relevance,' Trump tweeted. '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 continued.
Trump ripped the report as he met with the president of Serbia and the prime minister of Kosovo at the White House Friday.
'It was a terrible thing that somebody could say the kind of things – especially to me, because I’ve done more for the mil than almost anybody else,' Trump fumed. 'Nobody’s done what I’ve done' for the military, Trump claimed.
Then he brought up the tell-all book by former national security advisor John Bolton – a book that accuses Trump of giving 'personal favors to dictators.'
'I hate to bring up his book, but john Bolton, no friend of mine I mean he didn’t know too much about what he was doing, he didn’t do a good job. But he wrote a book. He talks about this incident and he doesn’t mention it,' said Trump.
'There’s nobody that considers the military and especially the people that have given their lives in the military – to me they’re heroes,' Trump said of Americans who die while serving the country. 'It’s even hard to believe how they could do it. And I say that. The level of bravery ...' he said.
In addition to the president himself calling the story in the Atlantic fill of 'lies,' the White House communications shop has turned to an unlikely source of defense: Bolton, who Trump has ridiculed since his slicing memoir.
'He is a liar,' Trump said after Bolton released his tell-all book trashing the administration.
Following publication of the Atlantic story, the White House press shop retweeted an image of Bolton's book, 'The Room Where it Happened,' where Bolton says it was bad weather and the special contingencies of presidential travel that caused the White House to nix a planned cemetery visit by Trump in 2018.
The White House's furious pushback against a new Atlantic article that reports President Donald Trump called fallen soldiers 'losers' included quoting from the tell-all book by former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Trump called Bolton a 'liar' after the release of his book
President Trump attacked the Atlantic magazine and called its report 'fake'
Trump was to have visited the cemetery near Belleau Wood on the 100th anniversary which holds a special place for Marines.
'The press turned canceling the cemetery visit into a story that Trump was afraid of the rain and took glee in pointing out that other world leaders traveled around during the day,' Bolton wrote. 'Of course, none of them were the President of the United States, but the press didn't understand the rules for US Presidents are different form the rules for 190 other leaders who don't command the world's greatest military forces.'
Bolton wrote that Marine One's crew were saying it was 'imprudent' to fly by helicopter due to the weather, and the drive could be 90 minutes each way.
The Atlantic piece takes a much harsher view: 'Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day,' wrote author Jeffrey Goldberg.
White House deputy communications director Brian Morganstern retweeted the passage book, as did White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah.
Farah also called the article 'offensive & patently false.'
Another White House press official, Judd Deere, blasted out 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 publications four anonymous sources. Will The Atlantic stand by their false anonymous reporting or listen to those who were there?'
White House officials circulated Bolton's book, which contradicts key elements of the story's account
A White House official retweeted an image of internal documents showing visibility as low as 1 mile the day Trump's Marine One helicopter trip was scrubbed
French President Emmanuel Macron (C) attends the Armistice Day commemorations marking the end of World War I on November 11, 2017, near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris