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John Bolton says he didn't hear Trump insult fallen soldiers in France

Former White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE said in comments published Friday that he never heard President Trump refer to slain American soldiers buried at a French cemetery as "losers" and "suckers," after the allegations were made in a bombshell report published Thursday.

"I didn't hear that," Bolton told The New York Times. "I'm not saying he didn't say them later in the day or another time, but I was there for that discussion."

Bolton's remarks came after Trump himself denied any allegations of disrespectful comments toward American soldiers killed in action, which were first reported by The Atlantic's editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg.

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"I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes," Trump said to the press as he was exiting Air Force One early Friday. "There is nobody that respects them more. So, I just think it's a horrible, horrible thing ... no animal, nobody, what animal would say such a thing." 

The Atlantic reported that Trump bailed on his appearance at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in 2018 due to concerns that rain would dishevel his hair.

"Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," Trump also allegedly told aides before canceling his trip to Belleau, France.

Several White House staff and Trump campaign aides denied the president ever made the comments.

Bolton's defense of the president comes just months after his release of his memoir "The Room Where It Happened," which offered a behind-the-scenes look at Trump's discourse with officials in the White House.

Bolton served as national security adviser for Trump from April 2018 to September 2019, and he served as the 25th U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006 during the Bush administration.

Trump in 2015 garnered criticism after mocking late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain, Kristol battle over Tanden nomination Biden's favorability rating rises while Trump's slips: Gallup The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread MORE (R-Ariz.), who was captured and tortured by North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War, saying he preferred people who "weren't captured" and aren't "losers."