Former defense secretary says Trump's word and actions 'on the record' corroborates Atlantic report of him belittling American veterans

  • Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that The Atlantic's report that President Donald Trump belittled US veterans "will resonate" with American soldiers because the president has a history "on the record" saying words that add credibility to the story. 
  • Hagel said Trump's track record of disparaging US veterans including late Senator John McCain and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis "corroborates" the report. 
  • While Trump has furiously denied and discredited the report, reports on Fox News, the Associated Press, and Business Insider have also confirmed with sources that add to the report's credibility. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a Sunday interview with ABC that The Atlantic's report that President Donald Trump belittled American veterans "will resonate" with US soldiers because of the president's track record of deriding Americans who served in the army. 

In a report published Thursday, The Atlantic stated that anonymous sources said Trump derided the late former senator John McCain and the late former President George H. W. Bush as "losers" because they were shot down while serving in the US Navy.

Hagel said that the report is in line with Trump's words and actions "on the record," which speak to the "credibility of this article." He pointed out that Trump's derision of late Senator John McCain, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and retired US Marine Corps general John Kelly are among many of Trump's track record criticizing former American veterans that "corroborates" the report. 

 

"Facts are facts," the former Defense Secretary told ABC News. "I think this is a pretty clear indictment of this president's attitude towards our veterans." 

A recipient of two Purple Hearts while serving in the Vietnam War, Hagel added that such "despicable" comments are "beneath the dignity of any commander-in-chief."

"No president has ever done that — use your veterans, use your active military as props," Hagel said on ABC.

Meanwhile, Trump and his supporters have denied the report, slamming its use of anonymous sources. The president furiously lashed out on journalist Jeffrey Goldberg who wrote the article and denied the veracity of the report. On Sunday, he also attacked Laurene Powell Jobs, a major stakeholder in The Atlantic for "wasting money" on a "failing Radical Left Magazine."

 

A number of other news outlets and journalists, including Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin, The Associated Press, and Business Insider have since corroborated parts of The Atlantic report with sources. Meanwhile, Trump has targeted journalists who have reported on the credibility of this story. On Friday, he tweeted out that Griffin "should be fired for this kind of reporting."

Business Insider reached out to a spokesperson for The White House for comment. 

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