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the commander in chief

Verifying “Losers” and “Suckers”, a Flood of Corroboration

The article by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic that cites numerous examples of President Trump's disparagement of those who join the military as "losers" and "suckers" became an instant sensation and you've likely already read it, so we won't recite its contents here. We'll pick up with the aftermath and at the end add a couple of items that haven't shown up in the mainstream.

All of Goldberg's sources spoke in anonymity, which deniers supporting Trump took to task. Those in support of the president spoke in the open, whether
Jennifer Griffin of Fox News

to reporters or on television. That is not remarkable. Those backing the president hope to be noticed and earn Trump's appreciation. Most are in his immediate circle: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, adviser Stephen Miller, wife Melania. All refuted what Goldberg wrote, unsurprisingly.

Those in the administration who told Goldberg what they heard spoke off the record knowing they would otherwise lose their jobs, or, if in private sector jobs in revolving door Washington, expected retribution somehow from the revengeful Trump should they reveal their names.

Other reporters immediately set about corroborating what Goldberg had written. The Washington Post found the same sources as Goldberg quotes or other sources who confirmed that Trump had asked, "What's in it for them" while standing with Gen. John Kelly at the grave of Kelly's son. The Associated Press verified that the president did not want to visit an American military cemetery in France in 2018 because it was "filled with losers".

Kelly declined to comment for Goldberg's Atlantic story in keeping with the military staying clear of politics. But it would seem that he would have at least denied what Trump allegedly said if it had been erroneously reported.

And the press found more. New York Times sources said Trump has long scorned those who served in Vietnam as being too dumb to have gotten out of it, as he did through a medical diagnosis of bone spurs. The Post heard the same: Trump believed that people who served in the Vietnam War must be "losers" because they hadn't gotten out of it.

But for those who write off the Times and Post as biased, there was Jennifer Griffin at Fox News, a reporter highly respected at that network judging from the congratulatory tweets by her colleagues after she appeared on Bret Baier's show, "Special Report". It came as a shock to hear what she said, given that we were watching Fox News:

"I've spoken with two U.S. senior officials who were on the trip to France who confirmed to me key details in the Atlantic article and the quotes attributed to the president. My source, a former Trump administration official, told me when the president spoke about the Vietnam War, he said it was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker. The president would say about American veterans, 'What's in it for them? They don't make any money'. The source said it was a character flaw of the president. He could not understand why someone would die for their country. Not worth it. Regarding the French trip to mark the end of World War I, according to this former official, the president was not in a good mood. French president Macron had said something that made him mad. He questioned why he had to go to two cemeteries. 'Why do I have to do two?'. Regarding the president's July 4th military parade planning, during a planning session at the White House, after seeing the Bastille Day parade in 2017, President Trump said regarding the inclusion of wounded guys, 'That's not a good look. Americans don't like that.'"

Trump was furious at Fox News and demanded that Griffin be fired. Griffin returned fire after Trump denigrated her reporting. The Fox News correspondent phoned into Fox's Neil Cavuto’s show on Saturday to defend her “straight down the middle” reporting and her sources. “I can tell you that my sources are unimpeachable,” Griffin told Cavuto and said they are not anonymous to her and that she doubts “they are anonymous to the president”.

Finally, here are two items that haven't shown up in the mainstream that add further verification of President Trump's attitude toward the military:

In niece Mary Trump's book she says that at one point Donald Jr. expressed an interest in joining the Army, but Donald Sr. said if he did so, he would disown him.

In the prenuptial agreement with Marla Maples, who had just given birth to Tiffany, there is a clause that states that Trump’s payments would cease if Tiffany got a full-time job, enlisted in the military, or joined the Peace Corps.

Convinced?

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