Trump pushes back on Atlantic article: ‘Only an animal would say that’
President Trump in a Monday press conference pushed back on claims made in an article in The Atlantic that alleged he disparaged U.S. service members killed in World War I during a 2018 trip to France.
The president also took aim at Pentagon officials, claiming they want to continue to “fight wars” so arms manufacturers can profit.
He emphasized bringing troops home from “endless wars” and said U.S. NATO allies like Germany “rip us off.”
“Some people don’t like to come home, some people like to continue to spend money,” Trump said. “One cold-hearted globalist betrayal after another, that’s what it was.”
The article published Thursday alleged that Trump referred to slain American soldiers buried at a French cemetery as “losers” and “suckers.” The administration has vehemently denied the claims, though Fox News and other outlets were able to confirm key details.
“Only an animal would say things like that,” Trump said Monday at the White House.
Trump said the article’s author, The Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg, has a “tremendously bad history,” and accused him of being pro-Democrat. Trump has previously called Goldberg a “slimeball” and called for the firing of the Fox News reporter who confirmed details of 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 added that he “doesn’t understand” why people would draw a correlation between what he’s said about the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the past and the allegations in the article.
McCain was a critic of Trump while he was campaigning for the Republican ticket in 2015 and 2016, and at one point Trump said McCain was a “war hero because he was captured” adding “I like people that weren’t captured.” The Atlantic article claimed Trump did not want to lower flags at the White House when McCain died in 2018.
“I’ve always been on the opposite side of John McCain. John McCain liked wars — I will be a better warrior than anybody but when we fight a war we’re going to win them,” Trump said. “And frankly I was never a fan of John McCain, you know that, it’s been very obvious.”
Trump criticized McCain for what he called pushing the controversial dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele in 2016, which alleged that Russia had compromising material on Trump.
“So, this is not something where I’m supposed to say ‘What a wonderful guy.’ So, you know what, I lived with him, he lived with me, but we had different philosophies,” Trump said. “I respect a lot of people, that doesn’t mean I necessarily have to agree with them and I didn’t agree with him on a lot of things.”
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