Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegDOJ sues to block JetBlue-American Airlines partnership On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Blumenthal calls on Buttigieg to investigate American Airlines-JetBlue partnership MORE on Friday offered a fierce rebuke against President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE over reports that he referred to slain American soldiers buried at a French cemetery as “losers” and “suckers.”
Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., noted that Trump in the past has made comments denigrating individual veterans, most notably when he claimed that late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden steps onto global stage with high-stakes UN speech Biden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance MORE (R-Ariz.) was not a hero because he was captured.
“But if you don’t want to believe that, believe your own eyes, because this president has been disrespecting the military from the day he let some sucker in his youth go in his place to serve in Vietnam because he didn’t want to,” Buttigieg said on Fox News on Friday, referring to Trump's deferment from the Vietnam War draft due to a bone spurs diagnosis despite an otherwise healthy physical examination.
“The president today lied on Twitter about never calling John McCain a loser. Now he’s asking us to believe, OK, he’s lying about that today, because we can check and see the footage, but he’s not lying about the other stuff? He must think we’re all suckers. And the amazing thing to me is how little respect he has for the intelligence of his own supporters,” he added, referencing comments the president made Friday morning calling the report a "fake story."
The bombshell report, which was published Thursday by The Atlantic, said that Trump bailed on his appearance at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in 2018 because he was worried that rain would tousle his hair.
"Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," Trump allegedly told aides before canceling his trip to Belleau, France.
Trump and a number of aides have refuted the report, though multiple news outlets have confirmed it.
"If they really exist, if people really exist that would have said that, they’re low lifes and they’re liars. And I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more,” Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews after a campaign stop in Pennsylvania on Thursday evening.
Buttigieg dismissed the president's refutation, saying “multiple sources confirm this, multiple news organizations confirm this.”
“This isn’t complicated. General Dunford was there. General Kelly was there. If the president wanted to be there, he would’ve been there,” he said of the 2018 ceremony.
“This is a lot bigger than whether the president went to a ceremony or not. This is a fundamental disrespect that we have seen the president show, we’ve seen it with our own eyes and the statements he’s made in public, it just turns out we’ve got a lot of people from inside the administration willing to reveal behind the scenes it’s even worse," he added.