Trump Says He Never Called McCain A ‘Loser.’ Here’s The Evidence He Did.

Trump Says He Never Called McCain A ‘Loser.’ Here’s The Evidence He Did.

TOPLINE

While denying a report from The Atlantic that he made disparaging comments about veterans, including the late Sen. John McCain, President Trump falsely claimed he never called the former Arizona senator a “loser.”

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Event In Latrobe, PA

Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport on September … [+] 3, 2020, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by a narrow margin.

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

KEY FACTS

Citing unnamed sources, The Atlantic reported Trump made multiple derogatory remarks about veterans, calling them “losers” and “suckers,” and once refused to travel to a cemetery in which American troops killed in the brutal Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I are interred, saying: “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” He was also worried that the wind would ruin his hair.

According to the report, when McCain died in August 2018, Trump reportedly told his senior staff, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,” and demanded to know why flags were being lowered to half-staff.

Trump denied The Atlantic’s report in a tweet, and claimed he “never called John a ‘loser’.”

At the 2015 Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, during his presidential campaign, Trump mocked McCain, who was captured and tortured by North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War, saying he liked people who “weren’t captured” and aren’t “losers.”

Trump even promoted a story about the event that quoted his “loser” comment: 

Key background

Before his death in 2018, McCain frequently traded jabs with the president and was blasted by Trump repeatedly after he delivered the decisive vote—along with Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine)—that rejected Republicans’ attempt to repeal Obamacare in 2017. Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral, but continued to attack the senator months after he died, following a battle with brain cancer.

Chief critic

“I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes,” Trump told the Washington Post, responding to The Atlantic’s report. “There is nobody that respects them more. So I just think it’s a horrible, horrible thing.”

Surprising fact

Hours after The Atlantic published its report, the Washington Post confirmed with an unnamed former senior administration official that the president had repeatedly referred to veterans and soldiers missing in action as “losers.”

What to watch for 

The Biden campaign plans to hold a press call Friday morning with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Khizr Khan and Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) “in reaction to the appalling revelations about Donald Trump and veterans.” 

Tangent 

Trump is trailing Biden in support among U.S. troops, a Military Times poll released last week found, a departure from 2016 when Trump led Hillary Clinton among troops before the election. 

Further reading

Trump said U.S. soldiers injured and killed in war were ‘losers,’ magazine reports (Washington Post),

Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ (The Atlantic),

Trump Trailing Biden Among U.S. Troops, In Massive Swing From 2016 Dominance: Poll (Forbes)

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