KEY POINTS

  • Trump says 'only an animal' would call slain US soldiers 'losers'
  • Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly says the sources likely did not have first-hand knowledge
  • John Bolton dismissed The Atlantic's report as 'simply false'

President Donald Trump dismissed claims made in an article in The Atlantic that allege he called U.S. soldiers “losers” during a 2018 trip to France. 

During a Monday press conference, the president pushed back on the allegations. “Only an animal would say things like that,” he said. 

The article published Thursday said Trump called slain American soldiers buried at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris “suckers.” It also alleged that the president canceled a visit at the last minute because the rain would “dishevel his hair.”

The Trump administration denied the claims. The president also refused to apologize for any of the accusations made in the “fake story,” The Hill reported, although other media outlets have confirmed some aspects of The Atlantic article.

John Kelly, the former deputy White House chief of staff, defended the president, saying he has never heard Trump call anyone losers. He told Breitbart the anonymous sources credited on the report unlikely had first-hand accounts. 

Former national security adviser John Bolton appeared on “The Story” on Monday, where he disputed The Atlantic’s report, calling the claims “simply false.” He also said the president canceled his visit due to “logistical reasons.”

However, a report published on Fox News confirmed other details surrounding the trip. A former senior official said Trump questioned the need to visit the cemeteries. The president had allegedly been in a bad mood over something the French President Emmanuel Macron said. 

Trump accused The Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg, who wrote the article, of having a “bad history” and being pro-Democrat. He also demanded the Fox News reporter’s firing, who confirmed the details mentioned in the article.

“The story is a hoax, written by a guy who’s got a tremendously bad history,” Trump said. “The magazine itself, which I don’t read, I hear is totally anti-Trump ... He made up the story, it’s a totally made-up story,” Trump said during the news conference. 

The president also added that he “doesn’t understand” why people connected the article’s allegations to statements he made about late Senator John McCain in the past. 

Trump had publicly disparaged McCain during his campaign in 2016. He said he did not recognize McCain as a war hero because the North Vietnamese troops captured him during the Vietnam War.

The president also criticized the late senator after he pushed a controversial dossier that alleged Russia had compromising material on Trump. 

US President Donald Trump is fanning Americans' penchant for conspiracy theories US President Donald Trump is fanning Americans' penchant for conspiracy theories Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN