In fact, you could legitimately say that Trump is more ‘pro-military’ than even George W. Bush — who did love the military — because Trump is the first president in a generation not to start a war.
Not only is the president constantly bragging about the military, he’s pushed for (and gotten) funding to replenish a force worn out by decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan; he’s gotten the military raises; he has dramatically improved the Veterans Administration healthcare system (against all odds, by the way); and he’s strengthened the reputation of the American military around the world.
So with all of these things in mind, a ‘story’ published by The Atlantic last week claiming that President Trump said some truly awful things about American soldiers and Marines who died in World War I made no sense whatsoever.
The story, written by editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, claimed, among other things, that Trump intentionally skipped a visit to the fabled Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France during a visit in 2018, absurdly claiming that he didn’t want to get his hair wet.
The story claimed that Trump refused to go “because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead.”
Goldberg — who cited four ‘anonymous sources’ — also said that the president called the soldiers and Marines who died in nearby Belleau Wood “suckers” and “losers.”
Like we said, absurd stuff.
Almost immediately, current and former members of the Trump administration who were actually in France with the president at the time called out The Atlantic and Goldberg for disgraceful fabrications.
For one, Twitter personality Techno Fog reposted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents clearly showing that the reason why the president did not go to the cemetery that day was because it was canceled due to inclement weather.
Here is the @JasonLeopold tweet from 2019 about these Navy FOIA records he obtained.
Today @JeffreyGoldberg described how the Atlantic was extra careful on this story. Also seems inaccurate.
Documents got by Leopold prove them wrong. Great job Jason!https://t.co/JUMWtKRuXg
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) September 4, 2020
Well, couldn’t Trump have just motorcaded to the site? No; the military and his national security staff thought that trip, which was some 90-100 minutes one way, was fraught with too much risk.
But again, the story was being debunked almost immediately, and in a few cases by people who are no fan of the president — like his former national security adviser, John Bolton. He said he believed that canceling the visit, which was “entirely a weather-related decision” was the “proper thing to do” at the time.
“I didn’t hear those comments or even anything resembling them,” Bolton told Fox News. “I was there at that point in time in the morning.” He went on to say that the decision was made by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly. (Related: Media malfeasance: Rasmussen report creates hideously biased image of Trump for new poll.)
And if Goldberg’s claim was true, then Bolton — again, no fan of Trump — missed a great opportunity to verify and confirm it in his recently released book. But he didn’t.
Bolton, no fan of Trump’s, on the decision for Trump to skip Belleau Woods pic.twitter.com/OG4hGFwIfQ
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) September 4, 2020
Also almost immediately, people began calling on Goldberg to reveal his sources, and that included frequent Trump critic and one of CNN’s chief screechers, Brian Stelter.
I'm confident I have better sources within this White House than @JeffreyGoldberg, and I expect that upon investigation his anonymously sourced story will live up to the quality we can expect from The Atlantic under his leadership.
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) September 4, 2020
“That’s the thing about this — normally the denials from the president and his aides would carry some weight, but for three and a half years the White House has squandered its credibility to the point where its words are essentially worthless, and the denials mean very little,” Stelter said, dissing the president at first like he always does by claiming that Trump, and not his own network, is the serial fibber.
But after praising Goldberg as a “respected journalist” with “sources at high levels” of government, Stelter added: “But it is also incumbent on the sources, on the people that are talking to Goldberg, on the people that are talking to other outlets — the president’s denying it explicitly, so it’s put up or shut up time.”
Others were equally critical of Goldberg and his fabrications.
“The Venn diagram of journos who bought and peddled the Iraq WMD hoax, the Rolling Stone UVA rape hoax, the Russian collusion hoax, the Covington hoax, the Kavanaugh hoax, the Ukraine hoax, and the latest Atlantic hoax is a single circle. Take note of who’s inside it,” The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis tweeted.
The fact is, in the age of Trump, there really isn’t a trustworthy ‘mainstream’ media outlet anymore. The editors, writers, columnists, journalists and executives who run America’s legacy newsrooms and online outlets have completely lost all credibility after years of allowing their Trump Derangement Syndrome to guide their editorial decisions.
From the Russian collusion hoax to lying about Spygate to covering up for leakers who put the country’s national security at risk, the ‘mainstream’ media has become one of the least-trusted institutions in our country.
And now, The Atlantic has joined those ranks.