USA

Trump Denies Calling War Dead 'Losers' And 'Suckers'

The allegations made by The Atlantic magazine, which the US President says are "totally false", date back to 2018.

Donald Trump has denied making disparaging remarks about members of the American military who had been captured or killed.

The US President was accused by The Atlantic of referring to the American war dead at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France as "losers" and describing 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as "suckers".

The magazine also said its sources had alleged that Mr Trump declined to visit in November 2018 over concerns the rain that day would mess up his hair.

The President has described The Atlantic's accusations as "totally false", telling reporters: "They made it up."

"To think that I would make statements negative to our military and our fallen heroes when nobody's done what I've done with the budgets, with the military budgets, with getting pay raises for our military, it is a disgraceful situation by a magazine," Mr Trump added.

He added he was "ready to go" but the helicopter "could not fly".

"The reason it couldn't fly because it was raining about as hard as I've ever seen," the President added.

"And on top of that, it was very, very foggy and the helicopter was unable to fly."

President Donald J. Trump visits Suresnes American Cemetery to honor the centennial of Armistice Day, Paris, France 111118 CREDIT US Department of Defense.jpg
Donald Trump speaking at France's Suresnes American Cemetery on 11 November 2018 (Picture: US Department of Defense).

At the time of the proposed cemetery visit, the White House blamed the cancellation on poor weather.

Mr Trump has reiterated the explanation of why he did not visit the cemetery.

"In order for me to go, we would have had to leave immediately and go through very busy areas of, I guess, Paris, but a very, very heavily travelled area and in a big city," the US President said.

He added it was the Secret Service who told him he could not travel by car to the destination.

"The Secret Service told me: 'You can't do it'. I said: 'I have to do it. I want to be there'. They said: 'You can't do it'."

Mr Trump added: "I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes.

"There is nobody that respects them more.

"No animal - nobody - what animal would say such a thing?"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said: "It's sad the depths that people will go to during a lead-up to a presidential campaign to try to smear somebody."

Soldier walks among graves at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial 260718.jpg
A soldier is seen near the graves at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in 2018 (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Speaking about the report in The Atlantic, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said: "If the revelations in today's Atlantic article are true, then they are yet another marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role of the President of the United States."

Mr Biden, whose son served in Iraq, added: "Duty, honour, country: those are the values that drive our service members. I will ensure that our American heroes know that I will have their back and honour their sacrifice, always."

The Atlantic also alleges that President Trump said he did not want to support the August 2018 funeral of Republican senator John McCain, a decorated US Navy veteran who spent years as a Vietnam prisoner of war, because he was a "loser".

Trump acknowledged he was "never a fan" of Mr McCain and disagreed with him, but said he still respected him and approved everything to do with his "first class funeral" without hesitation because he felt it was "well deserved".