Trump Struggles to Contain Fallout from Military Remarks

Via “The Atlantic” (9/3/20)

As POLITICO reports, President Trump is desperately trying to minimize the damage from a blockbuster story in “The Atlantic” on Thursday (comments that have been independently verified by The Washington Post):

President Donald Trump and his aides scrambled Friday to contain the fallout from reports that he made denigrating remarks about U.S. service members and America’s war dead, as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went on the offensive against a newly embattled White House.

Addressing reporters in the Oval Office, Trump again attacked The Atlantic for its account of him allegedly calling fallen Marines “losers” and “suckers,” and sought to defuse the escalating controversy…

…Trump’s latest repudiation of The Atlantic’s report came hours after top Biden surrogates denounced the president in a press call — seizing upon a potential inflection point in a general election campaign that in recent days has left the Democratic nominee emphasizing his opposition to violence at protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

On Friday, however, it was Trump who found himself playing defense, having to explain his support for the military less than two months from an election in which he will rely on a political base of voters made up of a disproportionately high percentage of veterans.

“And while the service of our fallen will remain the last full measure of their devotion, the comments of this president are the last full measure of his disgrace. It’s time for all Americans of conscience to repudiate this man.”

   — Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora), former Army Ranger who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN, Trump’s claims that he didn’t say disparaging things about the military are tough to maintain given how often he has indisputably disparaged service members in the past:

Had this report come out about, say George W. Bush or Barack Obama, and they had denied it forcefully — as Trump has — it would be a near-certainty that most people (and the media) would accept that the story was just flat wrong. Because there was no indication in any of their past behavior that would indicate they might ever utter such sentiments about the military.

That’s simply not the case with Trump. And that fact complicates his defense of himself against The Atlantic in a major way.

Trump is scheduled to hold a press conference at 5:00 pm (EST) where he will presumably discuss these allegations at greater length. Trump was already bleeding support among military members, as The Military Times reported earlier this week.

12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. itlduso says:

    The fact that Jeffrey Goldberg’s  sources are anonymous is the only thread that Trump supporters are hanging onto.  Now is the time for his sources (Generals Kelly, Mattis, McMaster, et al?) to come forward. 

    These comments alone should disqualify Trump to be Commander in Chief in the eyes of many of his supporters.  Removing any doubt about the authenticity of the reporting means that Trump voters must buy-in to the notion that they also believe that American veterans are suckers and losers.

  2. Early Worm says:

    Recognizing that this is probably textbook confirmation bias, but is there anything in Trump's history, words or actions, that would lead someone to believe that he has any respect for military service or for self-sacrifice in any form? He has no history of public service, charitable actions or contributions, or anything that could be interpreted as a contribution to others or society as a whole. He just does not see the world that way. He objectifies and fetishizes the military and the police because they represent power. That is all he cares about. It is obvious to anyone that is not drinking the Koolaid. 

  3. davebarnes says:

    Jennifer Griffin of @JenGriffinFNC (Fox News) confirms Fat Donnie's remarks.


  4. MADCO says:

    Trump should just double down

    – POWs like McCain can’t be war heroes cause we prefer war heroes like Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush, Bush and Trump to not get captured.

    – Trump has military background and experience, and it’s all roughly equivalent to serving in Nam. And he got rich at the same time.

    – If they were so great, they would not have got them selves killed. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are just another market holiday.

    He needs to tell the rich and über rich it’s ok not to wear the uniform and defund social security and Medicaid. Real Amerian heroes get rich or quit their bitchin’.

    Besides, Obama. And her emails.

  5. Gilpin Guy says:

    What makes this so tough for Trump is EVERYONE has no problem believing that he could have said it.  Whether he did or didn't everyone knows that he could.  A few more votes disappear and no Hillary haters to take their place.

  6. notaskinnycook says:

    I just saw on a Facebook thread a story from a guy whose neighbor (a Marine) pulled up his Trump yard sign and walked it to the trash can at the curb. The military vote (current and vet) has been a mainstay of the Republican Party since, at least, the Reagan era

  7. JohnInDenver says:

    Confirming anecdotes all over.  Former DHS chief of staff confirms the parade.

  8. JohnInDenver says:

    Confirming anecdotes all over.  Former DHS chief of staff confirms the parade requests.

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