President Trump on Saturday hit out at the ‘slimeball reporter’ who broke the story claiming that he disparaged wounded and fallen American soldiers as he was photographed in his motorcade arriving at his Virginia golf club.
‘You work so hard for the military, from completely rebuilding a depleted mess that was left by OBiden, to fixing a broken V.A. and fighting for large scale military pay raises, and then a slimeball reporter, maybe working with disgruntled people, makes up such a horrible charge,’ the president tweeted on Saturday.
The president compared the Atlantic story by Jeffrey Goldberg, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, to the controversial Steele Dossier, which some say triggered the Mueller investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
‘You work so hard for the military, from completely rebuilding a depleted mess that was left by OBiden, to fixing a broken V.A. and fighting for large scale military pay raises, and then a slimeball reporter, maybe working with disgruntled people, makes up such a horrible charge,’ the president tweeted on Saturday
‘This reminds me of the Dirty Dossier, which was pushed hard by John McCain, & then with a thud turned out to be a total fraud,’ the president tweeted
The 'slimeball reporter' Trump was referring to is Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic magazine who broke the story earlier this week in which the president is claimed to have disparaged American war dead and wounded and missing GIs as 'losers' and 'suckers'
The politically explosive report, published on Thursday, claimed 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.
‘This reminds me of the Dirty Dossier, which was pushed hard by John McCain, & then with a thud turned out to be a total fraud,’ the president tweeted.
‘So many other scams also.
‘The Radical Far Left is VICIOUS, they will do or say anything to win.
‘But they won’t, we will WIN, & have four great years!’
Trump has in years past criticized John McCain (left), the late Republican senator from Arizona, for his role in the distribution of a document compiled by Christopher Steele (seen right in London on July 24), a former British spy. The document contained salacious and unverified claims about Trump's comments in a Moscow hotel room as well as claims of Russian influence over Trump's circle
Trump has in years past criticized McCain, the late Republican senator from Arizona, for his role in the distribution of a document compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy.
Trump and his supporters have accused the FBI and the Obama administration of using that document as a basis to investigate his campaign’s alleged ties to the Kremlin. Russia and Trump have long denied any wrongdoing.
McCain associate and former State Department official David Kramer testified in a court case that McCain gave the first pages of the dossier to former FBI Director James Comey on December 9, 2018.
A two-year investigation by then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller found there was not enough evidence to indicate that Trump illegally cooperated with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Several protesters greeted Trump's motorcade at the entrance to his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday
Protesters hold signs denouncing Trump's alleged comments belittling fallen American GIs in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday
Trump is accused of being a 'loser' and committing 'treason' by protesters in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday
The president has vehemently denied a story claiming that he disparaged American war dead during a 2018 trip to France
Protesters hold signs that denounce the president as a 'coward' and a 'traitor' in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday
One of the vehicles in Trump's motorcade is seen turning into the entrance at the president's golf club in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday
There were about a dozen anti-Trump protesters gathered near the entrance to his golf club on Saturday morning
One of the protesters appears to have dressed up as the president near the entrance to the golf club in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday
One woman is seen holding a 'Biden for President' flag while another holds a sign that depicts Trump as a 'clown'
Mueller, however, left open the question of whether the president obstructed justice.
Trump's tweets early on Saturday morning came hours after he demanded that Fox News fire a reporter after she confirmed Goldberg's report.
The president gloated in a tweet that the Fox News story 'did not confirm the most salacious part' of the Atlantic's report that he had called First and Second World War veterans 'losers' and had skipped visiting the graves of American soldiers because he didn't want the rain to ruin his hair.
But Jennifer Griffin did confirm that Trump called US Army veterans 'suckers', had not wanted wounded soldiers included in military parades because 'it was not a good look' and had not wanted to honor American war dead at Aisne-Marne Cemetery outside Paris.
Fox News, the Washington Post and Associated Press were among the news outlets to all confirm the Atlantic's reporting on Friday.
Trump was so enraged by Fox News' reporting, confirming the story, that he demanded the journalist Griffin be fired.
Donald Trump on Friday evening demanded that Breitbart fire a reporter who confirmed the Atlantic's story about him
Donald Trump on Friday called for the firing of Jennifer Griffin of Fox News after she confirmed the Atlantic's story
Fox News' national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin tweeted that she had confirmed the Atlantic's reporting
Griffin went through the elements of the story line-by-line, explaining what her sources had told her
The Fox News reporter was unable to confirm that Trump was worried about his hair in the rain, however
The president tweeted a link to a story by Breitbart, the far-Right, Trump-supporting website. It claimed that he was vindicated because Griffin only reported her sources as saying Vietnam veterans were 'suckers' - unlike the Atlantic, which reported that he'd said WW1 veterans were 'suckers'.
Breitbart also claimed victory for Trump because Griffin was 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 worried about his hair. Griffin was only able to confirm that he didn't want to go and chose not to.
Melania Trump earlier on Friday evening joined the fray and denied the highly-damaging report, tweeting that it was untrue and brought shame on journalism.
'The Atlantic story is not true,' she said.
'It has become a very dangerous time when anonymous sources are believed above all else, & no one knows their motivation.
'This is not journalism - It is activism. And it is a disservice to the people of our great nation.'
Melania Trump on Friday evening denied the Atlantic's story about her husband, which was published on Thursday night
Melania Trump on Friday evening became the latest White House figure to deny the story
In her Fox News report, Griffin said that she was told the president did indeed decide he didn't want to attend the rainy ceremony commemorating U.S. war dead in France.
'The president drives a lot,' Griffin said she was told. 'The other world leaders drove to the cemeteries. He just didn't want to go.'
Two former senior officials also confirmed to her that he disparaged war dead.
According to Griffin, one of the former senior Trump administration officials 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 want 'wounded guys' in military parades, adding: 'Americans don't like that'.
A senior Defense Department official with firsthand knowledge of events and a senior U.S. 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 noted that Jim Mattis, the former defense secretary, and John Kelly, the former chief of staff, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Other retired Marine generals who have worked with them, including Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. and Gen. John R. Allen, also declined to comment.
On Friday evening Trump speculated that Kelly could have been the possible source of the report.
Trump did not assert definitively his belief that Kelly was the source of the report – which he also asserted may have come from made-up sources.
But he accused the former top aide of bad mouthing him.
Trump furiously denied a report he referred to fallen troops as 'losers'
'This man was totally exhausted. He wasn’t even able to function in the last number of months,' Trump said.
'He was not able to function. He was sort of a tough guy. By the time he got eaten up in this world, he was unable to function.'
'I told him: John you’re going to have to go,' Trump said, describing Kelly's prolonged departure. 'And now he goes out and bad-mouths. Now, there are people that are jealous. There are people that are upset that they’re not here anymore. There are people – we’ve done an incredible job, the virus came in, and now w’ere doing an incredible job again,' Trump said, his thoughts shifting to the pandemic.
'I don’t know that it was him. I haven’t seen that. I mean I see "anonymous." But it could have been a guy like a John Kelly – just so you understand,' Trump said.
Kelly was a key figure who appeared twice in the story, once regarding the 2018 trip to Belleau Wood, and once regarding Trump's 2017 visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.
A former senior administration official told the Washington Post that the president frequently made disparaging comments about veterans and soldiers missing in action, referring to them at times as 'losers.'
In one account, the president reportedly told senior advisers that he didn't understand why the U.S. government placed such value on finding soldiers missing in action because they had performed poorly and gotten caught and deserved what they got.
Jennifer Griffin, national security correspondent for Fox News, confirmed the Atlantic story
Sources told Fox News that the Atlantic's report about Trump's remarks was factually accurate
Former officials within the White House told the news station that the reporting was true
Trump earlier on Friday repeated his attack on the Atlantic magazine.
'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.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
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 military 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