Current, Former White House Officials Deny Alleged Comments Made by Trump on Fallen US Soldiers

September 4, 2020 Updated: September 4, 2020

Former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, a critic of President Donald Trump, denied a report that alleged Trump made disparaging remarks about World War I soldiers in Paris as other White House officials echoed the claims.

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, citing anonymous sources, asserted that Trump made disparaging about Americans who died in the war. It also said that he skipped a visit to a Parisian cemetery because he allegedly feared the rain would mess up his hair.

Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary John Bolton have vigorously denied the report. Now, former adviser John Bolton, who left the administration last year, said that he never heard Trump make the remarks.

“I didn’t hear that,” Bolton said in an interview. “I’m not saying he didn’t say them later in the day or another time but I was there for that discussion.”

White House Officials Deny Report

Earlier in the day, Pompeo denied the Atlantic’s account.

Mike Pompeo
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters following a meeting with members of the U.N. Security Council in New York City on Aug. 20, 2020. (Mike Segar/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’ve been with this president coming on four years. I’ve never heard the president use the language,” he told Fox News on Friday. “I’ve never seen that. Indeed, just the contrary.” Going further, he said Trump has the “deepest respect” for the U.S. armed forces.

“I’m a veteran too. I care deeply about these young men and women. I watched the president honor them in every situation that I have been in with him,” Pompeo, a former U.S. Army officer, said in the interview.

Pence also denied the report, saying that Trump never scuppered his visit to the cemetery because of his hair.

“It never happened. I talked to the president that day. I know how disappointed President Trump was that there was a bad weather call that did not permit him to fly to Belleau Wood to honor our fallen there,” Pence said in a televised interview.

Instead, he said Trump cares deeply about the military and their families, noting the administration’s efforts to boost funding for the military and reform the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

“I reject this out of hand as everyone who has spoken out on it,” Pence said. “I think the American people see through this for what it is: just one more anonymous smear job with an election just a couple of months away.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that Trump respects military members, saying in a statement that it “is why he has fought for greater pay and more funding for our armed force.”

Trump himself also denied the allegations, describing them as “fake news.” He blasted The Atlantic for being a “dying” publication that is seeking relevance by making up “a fake story.”

Following the report, Democratic nominee Joe Biden attempted to seize on the comments and demanded Trump apologize.