A former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Monday that he was not one of the people who allegedly spoke to a magazine and claimed President Donald Trump denigrated the military.
Zach Fuentes said he did not speak to The Atlantic, which published the incendiary report that relied solely on anonymous sources.
“I don’t know who the sources are. I did not hear POTUS call anyone losers when I told him about the weather. Honestly, do you think General Kelly would have stood by and let ANYONE call fallen Marines losers?” Fuentes told Breitbart News via text message.
Kelly himself has not spoken publicly about the report.
“I was very happy to see Zach Fuentes come out,” Trump told reporters on Monday. “I was happy to see that Zach came out and said it was not true.”
The story revolved around whether Trump wanted to travel to a military cemetery in France in 2018.
The trip was canceled because of inclement weather, internal government documents showed.
But The Atlantic claimed Trump didn’t want to go because he feared his hair would become disheveled.
And it said the president called some personnel “losers.”
The sources weren’t named because they didn’t want to be called mean things on Twitter, Jeffrey Goldberg, the report’s author, said during an appearance on CNN.
The Atlantic hasn’t responded to requests for comment.
Fuentes said the sources “are unlikely first-hand accounts,” adding: “They are conflating those people from something the day after.”
Numerous first-hand sources came forward following publication of the report and disputed its claims.
“I was actually there and one of the people part of the discussion—this never happened. I have sat in the room when our President called family members after their sons were killed in action and it was heart-wrenching,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary, said in a statement.
“I was there in Paris and the President never said those things,” added Hogan Gidley, a former White House aide.
Critics note that Kelly went to the cemetery in alleging Trump could have gone there if he wanted to.
Trump said the Secret Service forbade him from traveling via car after the flight was scrapped due to the weather.
That account was supported by John Bolton, the former national security adviser.
Bolton wrote in his recently published book that a motorcade could take up to two hours each way “along roads that were not exactly freeways, posing an unacceptable risk.”