Democratic nominee Joe Biden issued a fiery response Friday afternoon to recent reports that President Donald Trump disparaged fallen World War I soldiers as “suckers” and “losers,” along with his well-documented jabs against veterans and military family members.
“I am always cautioned not to lose my temper. This may be as close as I’ve come this campaign,” Biden said during an address in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden called Trump’s words “deplorable,” and mentioned his own deceased son, Beau, whose political career overlapped with his military service.
“When my son was an assistant U.S. Attorney and he volunteered to go to Kosovo while the war was going on, as a civilian, he wasn’t a sucker,” Biden said.
“When my son volunteered and joined the United States military as the attorney general and went to Iraq for a year and won the Bronze Star and other commendations, he wasn’t a sucker. The servicemen and women he served with, particularly those who did not come home, were not losers.”
The Atlantic reported in a story on Thursday that Trump called 1,800 deceased American soldiers “suckers” for getting killed. Sources told The Atlantic that when Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he asked why he would want to go to a cemetery “filled with losers.” The Associated Press, Washington Post and Fox News confirmed details of The Atlantic’s piece.
Trump on Friday denied said allegations, calling it a “fake story.” But Biden believes the allegations to be true.
“If it is true, and based on the things he’s said, I believe the article is true, I would ask you all a rhetorical question: How would you feel if you had a kid in Afghanistan right now? How would you feel if you lost a son, daughter, husband, wife? How would you feel, for real?” Biden asked reporters.
How would you feel if you had a kid in Afghanistan right now? How would you feel if you lost a son, daughter, husband, wife? How would you feel, for real? Joe Biden
Trump, who never served in the military, has repeatedly denigrated American veterans and clashed with their families. He insulted the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim soldier killed during the Iraq War, because they spoke out against Trump’s proposed Muslim ban during the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He publicly criticized the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as a “loser” because he was a prisoner of war, and reportedly called former President George H.W. Bush a “loser” for being shot down as a pilot during World War II. He criticized generals. He reportedly didn’t want amputees at a military parade, according to The Atlantic.
And although Trump publicly proclaims himself a close ally to the military, he’s also limited certain duties as a commander in chief. As HuffPost’s S.V. Dáte reported this week, Trump stopped going to Dover Air Force Base to ceremoniously receive the bodies of fallen soldiers for nearly two years after the father of a fallen Navy SEAL berated him.
“You can count on one hand the number of times Donald Trump has been to Dover,” Jon Soltz, chairman of the progressive political group VoteVets and an Iraq War veteran, told Dáte. “There simply is no bottom when it comes to what he’ll lie about. I wish there was more outrage about Trump lying about the dignified transfer of the fallen for political reasons, because as a veteran it really disgusts me.”
VoteVets issued a video response to The Atlantic article, in which several family members of fallen soldiers said Trump “has no right being commander in chief” and that he “doesn’t know what it is to sacrifice.”
All the while, Trump claims he is a great supporter of the military, including by touting the Veterans Choice health care program. That program, however, was actually signed into law by President Barack Obama, and was written by McCain.
While Trump has clashed with multiple veterans and military family members, his greatest feud has been with McCain.
“I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said of McCain in 2015. When McCain died in August 2018, he referred to him yet again as a “loser” and became enraged when flags were lowered to half-staff.
“What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser,” Trump reportedly told his aides.
While Trump denied that he objected to lowering the flags, a former Department of Homeland Security official-turned-Trump critic confirmed the report on Friday.
Biden called Trump out for his consistent disrespect of McCain’s military service.
“He is the same guy that denigrated John,” Biden said. “I just think it is sick, it is deplorable, it is so un-American, it is so unpatriotic.”