Trump dismissed US war dead as ‘losers’ and ‘suckers’ – report

Support us and go ad-free

Donald Trump made multiple disparaging remarks about members of the US military who had been captured or killed, and referred to the American war dead at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France as “losers” and “suckers”, according to a report. The president said the story, first reported in the Atlantic, is “totally false”.

First hand knowledge

A senior Defence Department official with first-hand knowledge of events and a senior Marine Corps officer who was told about Trump’s comments confirmed some of the remarks to the Associated Press, including the cemetery incident.

The officials said he made the comments as he begged off visiting the cemetery outside Paris during a meeting following his presidential daily briefing on the morning of November 10 2018.

Staff from the National Security Council and the Secret Service told Trump that rainy weather made helicopter travel to the cemetery risky, but they could drive there. He responded by saying he did not want to visit the cemetery because it was “filled with losers”, the official said.

At the time the White House blamed the cancelled visit on poor weather.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

In another conversation on the trip, the Atlantic said, Mr Trump referred to the 1,800 marines who died in the First World War battle of Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed. He denied the report, calling it “a disgraceful situation” by a “terrible magazine”.

Speaking to reporters after he returned to Washington from a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump said:

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?

John McCain
John McCain (Cliff Owen/PA)

He also reiterated the White House explanation of why he did not visit the cemetery. “The helicopter could not fly,” he said, because of the rain and fog. He also said:

The Secret Service told me you can’t do it. They would never have been able to get the police and everybody else in line to have a president go through a very crowded, very congested area.”


Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, whose son served in Iraq, 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.

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.

“What was in it for them?”

The defence officials also confirmed to the AP that Trump, on Memorial Day 2017, had gone with chief of staff John Kelly to visit the Arlington Cemetery gravesite of Kelly’s son Robert, who was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan, and said to Mr Kelly:

I don’t get it. What was in it for them?

The senior Marine Corps officer and the Atlantic, citing sources with first-hand knowledge, also reported that Trump said he did not want to support the August 2018 funeral of Republican senator John McCain, a decorated navy veteran who spent years as a Vietnam prisoner of war, because he was a “loser”.


The Atlantic reported that the president was angered that flags were flown at half-mast for McCain, saying: “What the f*** are we doing that for? Guy was a f****** loser”.

In 2015, shortly after launching his presidential candidacy, Trump publicly criticised McCain, saying: “He’s not a war hero,” and adding: “I like people who weren’t captured”.

The magazine said Trump also referred to former president George HW Bush as a “loser” because he was shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in the Second World War.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us