- The Washington Times - Friday, September 4, 2020

President Trump on Friday rejected as “fake” an article in The Atlantic that claims he skipped a visit to an American military cemetery in France in 2018 after calling the World War I dead “losers” for getting killed in battle.

“It’s a fake story and it’s a disgrace that they’re allowed to do it,” Mr. Trump said in the Oval Office.

Mr. Trump said he’s done more than any leader for the military, from boosting its budget to pushing for pay raises.

“Nobody’s done what I’ve done,” he said. “I hope to God that we never have to use it but our nuclear is in extraordinary shape.

Mr. Trump said soldiers are “heroes.”

“The level of bravery. To me, they’re absolute heroes,” he said.

The White House is scrambling to respond after The Atlantic published its story late Thursday.

The story quoted four unidentified people “with firsthand knowledge” of the episode in France in November 2018. The article claims that Mr. Trump canceled a scheduled visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris by falsely blaming rain and a helicopter that couldn’t fly.

“Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,” the president allegedly told aides. The article also states that the president referred to the more than 1,800 Marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood in World War I as “suckers” for getting killed.

Mr. Trump said he’s no fan of his former national security adviser, John Bolton, who wrote an unflattering tell-all book after his ousting.

Yet he said Mr. Bolton’s book clears him by offering an account that syncs with the White House’s explanation about poor weather in France two years ago.

Dave Boyer contributed to this story.

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