The biggest anti-Trump story of the week? It’s more fake news.
The Atlantic reported a bombshell on Thursday night that President Trump had refused to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France back in 2018, because he thought the cemetery was “filled with losers.”
The Atlantic cited 5 anonymous sources who backed up their story, though none of these sources were willing to go on the record.
The Trump White House had said at the time–and reiterated now–that Trump’s visit was canceled because bad weather made it impossible to land Trump’s Marine One presidential helicopter, and that the rural French cemetery was too far for Trump to be driven.
Almost immediately, a number of top Trump aides–both current and former–threw cold water on the Atlantic’s “scoop,” calling it completely false.
The White House also released memos at the time, explaining why the crew of Marine One recommended the visit be canceled due to weather.
Trump’s former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, also took to Twitter to deny the Atlantic’s claims:
“The Atlantic story on [Trump] is total BS. 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,” she wrote.
“These were some of the moments I witnessed the President show his heart and demonstrate how much he respects the selfless and courageous men and women of our military. I am disgusted by this false attack,” she added.
“I’ve been with this president now for coming on four years,” Pompeo said. “I’ve never heard the president use the language that assertively is said in that article about him calling military suckers and losers. I’ve never seen that — indeed, just the contrary. He has always had the deepest respect.”
But the most notable support comes from former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who also admitted it never happened.
Bolton and Trump famously had a falling out, with Bolton later penning a scathing memoir about his time in the White House.
Bolton’s book, released earlier this year, actually discusses the canceled visit–and says canceling was a “straightforward decision” due to weather and security issues. In a book chock full of anti-Trump smears, Bolton makes no mention of Trump disparaging the troops.
In his book, Bolton wrote: “The weather was bad, and [General] Kelly and I spoke about whether to travel as planned to the Chateau Thierry Belleau Wood monuments and nearby American Cemeteries, where many US World War I dead were buried.”
“Marine One’s crew was saying that bad visibility could make it imprudent to chopper to the cemetery,” he continued. “If a motorcade was necessary, it could take between ninety and a hundred and twenty minutes each way, along roads that were not exactly freeways, posing an unacceptable risk that we could not get the President out of France quickly enough in an emergency.”
“It was a straightforward decision to cancel the visit,” Bolton concluded.
Bolton, in a recent interview, reiterated his side of the story, saying it was “a straight weather call” to cancel the visit.