First Lady Melania Trump late Friday refuted a report by The Atlantic that claimed, without citing any named sources, that President Donald Trump had spoken unfavorably of military personnel and decided not to visit a military cemetery in France in 2018 in part because he feared his hair would become disheveled.
“[The Atlantic] story is not true,” the first lady wrote on Twitter. “It has become a very dangerous time when anonymous sources are believed above all else, & no one knows their motivation. This is not journalism – It is activism. And it is a disservice to the people of our great nation.”
.@TheAtlantic story is not true. It has become a very dangerous time when anonymous sources are believed above all else, & no one knows their motivation. This is not journalism – It is activism. And it is a disservice to the people of our great nation.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 4, 2020
Trump also denied the report, calling the piece “fake news.”
The Atlantic claimed, citing anonymous sources, that Trump made disparaging remarks about fallen WWII troops buried at a cemetery near Paris, France, and that he declined a trip to visit the cemetery “because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead.”
“They made it up … it’s unthinkable,” Trump said late Thursday.
“I was ready to go to the ceremony,” the president said of the planned trip in 2018 in France by helicopter. He said that the U.S. Secret Service told him he could not go. The alternative, a long drive, would have meant going through very busy areas of Paris and the Secret Service objected, even though he insisted on the drive also, he said.
“The Secret Service told me ‘you can’t do it.’ I said ‘I have to do it.’ They said ‘you can’t do it,’” he told reporters late Thursday, adding, “But you can also speak to the Secret Service, they wouldn’t let me go no matter what happened because of security, because of safety.”
He expressed incredulity at the situation. “Now all of a sudden somebody makes up this horrible story that I didn’t want to go, and then they make up an even worse story, an even worse story, calling certain names to our fallen heroes … It’s a disgrace that a magazine is able to write it.”
“I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more,” he added.
“All they are trying to do is influence a presidential election where we’ve gone very high in the polls in the last short period of time, where we’re doing very well, where we’re going to win and they’re going crazy … This fake press is a disgrace.”
The president also denied allegations in the report that he didn’t support the funeral of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Keith Kellogg, a retired Lieutenant General who now serves as the national security advisor to Vice President Mike Pence, said on Twitter late Thursday: “The Atlantic story is completely false.”
“Absolutely lacks merit,” he continued. “I’ve been by the President’s side. He has always shown the highest respect to our active duty troops and veterans with utmost respect paid to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and those wounded in battle.”
A number of other White House officials and Trump allies have refuted the claims made by the anonymous sources in The Atlantic piece. The Trump campaign noted that “11 officials who were with President Trump are ON THE RECORD refuting it” and “Official documents also refute it.”
The Epoch Times has reached out to The Atlantic for comment.