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Pence: 'Slanders' against Trump on armed forces 'absurd'

Pence: 'Slanders' against Trump on armed forces 'absurd'
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Vice President Pence in Wednesday night's vice presidential debate defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE from allegations that he has disparaged the military and U.S. soldiers killed in action.

“The slanders against President Donald Trump regarding men and women of our armed forces are absurd,” Pence said.  

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden teams to meet with Trump administration agencies Biden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members Ossoff, Warnock to knock on doors in runoff campaigns MORE brought up reporting in The Atlantic last month that Trump has referred to military veterans and active service members as “suckers” and “losers” and questioned the motivations of the war dead at Arlington National Cemetery by asking “what was in it for them?”  

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Trump has denied that he made such comments and has been buoyed by administration officials

The reporting set off a firestorm of criticism of the president, who has sought to portray himself as building back America’s military might, ending so-called endless wars and bringing U.S. soldiers home. 

Earlier Wednesday night, Trump tweeted that he was looking to draw down the number of U.S. service members in Afghanistan by Christmas.  

Harris brought up Trump’s remarks in response to a question of how a Biden administration would approach foreign policy, attacking the president as having a disregard for U.S. service members serving in Iraq when Trump made the decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January. 

“After the strike on Soleimani there was a counterstrike on our troops in Iraq and they suffered serious brain injuries, and you know what Donald Trump dismissed them as? Headaches,” Harris said. “And this is about a pattern of Donald Trump, where he has referred to our men who are serving in our military as suckers and losers.”

In January, Trump downplayed reports of U.S. service members who sustained concussive injuries following counterstrikes by Iran on the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq, which houses U.S. troops, in response to the Soleimani killing.

"I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say and I can report that it’s not very serious," Trump said at the time. 

By February, the Pentagon disclosed that at least 109 service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.