In an electoral democracy, dirty tricks, wild spin, and outright lies are the norm during election season, not the exception. No Hollywood screenwriter could spin wild fiction better than yellow journalists during the political silly season.
Voters accept this, perhaps cognizant of the famous aphorism, usually attributed to Winston Churchill, that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried. Even with the popular expectation of such cynicism, however, The Atlantic’s latest attack on President Trump is shocking in its sheer, brazen dishonesty. The magazine has engaged in an outstanding display of “newspeak” as defined in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four—talking past events and reinventing them to meet a current political narrative.
As has been the case with so many other baseless accusations the media have attempted to foist on the president, this one originated with unnamed sources. In this case, those sources are almost certainly disgruntled bureaucrats hoping to help their preferred candidate, Joe Biden, win an election. This claim—that the president refused to visit the graves of American war dead in France because he considered them “losers”—goes beyond all previous stories following this pattern, however, because it is absolutely implausible on its face.
For one thing, there are hard, accessible records from the day in question showing that bad weather, not an imaginary callous hatred of the American soldier, was the reason that a single cemetery visit was scrapped from the president’s schedule during the trip in question. We also have the testimony of former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and several other senior officials who were actually there, in the room, all of whom state unequivocally that “this never happened.”
Forget, too, that even the most disgruntled bureaucrat of all, John Bolton, who was also present, wrote an entire book detailing every faux pas, off-color remark, and embarrassing anecdote he could remember or invent about his time in the White House, yet neglected to mention anything remotely like the incident described by The Atlantic, and indeed, has denied that it happened.
Even without all this evidence to the contrary, the smear doesn’t land. President Trump thinks the American war dead in France are losers? The very idea is totally inconsistent with everything we’ve ever seen and heard from him.
This is the same ground that President Trump has visited multiple times during his presidency, specifically to honor their sacrifice, referring to the hallowed ground as “freedom’s altar.” This is the place where, on D-Day last year, he pointed out “75 years ago, 10,000 men shed their blood and thousands sacrificed their lives for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty.”
The men President Trump supposedly thinks are losers, according to The Atlantic’s anonymous sources, are the same men he has called “among the very greatest Americans who will ever live,” “the pride of our nation,” and “the glory of our republic.”
The Atlantic wants us to believe he considered wounded veterans unworthy of being honored—the same wounded veterans whose plight under the Obama-Biden Administration he made a centerpiece of his campaign and his administration. No president in history has made reform at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs a higher priority than Donald Trump, who has signed no fewer than three major bills to ensure that U.S. veterans receive the care and support they deserve. There is no group of Americans that President Trump has elevated, assisted, and honored more often than our veterans.
What’s more, President Trump has done more to prevent American casualties than any president in the post-Cold War era—unlike Joe Biden, who played a leading role in committing thousands more American troops to far-off war zones with poorly defined missions and unachievable objectives.
As Sarah Sanders and others have attested, Trump treats every single death of an American serviceman as the tragedy it is, personally calling the families of the fallen and redoubling his efforts to keep as many of our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines out of combat as possible.
Of note, this is an attempt to demean both the service and sacrifice of the fallen heroes of the Battle of Belleau Wood by reducing their bravery to a single point of a false narrative. The Atlantic using their memory as political fodder for an attack on a sitting president is beyond disrespectful to the fallen Marines and soldiers in that World War I battle.
The Atlantic, however, expects the American people to believe that Donald Trump thinks they’re all “losers” and “suckers,” based entirely on the word of a few cowards who wouldn’t even put their names to their ridiculous accusations. It’s disgusting, particularly because it’s such a transparently partisan effort to influence an election that is less than two months away.