The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg told MSNBC on Monday night that he believes “fear on a kind of superficial level of a Twitter mob” and a “fear of personal safety” kept his anonymous sources from going public with their allegations that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz, longtime fan of ‘The Princess Bride,’ swipes at cast members’ plans to reunite to raise money for Democrats Trump casts wide net in Labor Day press conference Biden vows to be ‘strongest labor president you’ve ever had’ MORE called fallen service members “losers” and “suckers” in 2018.
Goldberg was pressed by MSNBC host Chris Hayes during an interview Monday night about the sources. He said he had pressed the sources to go on the record and also mentioned November’s presidential election as a reason some may not have wanted to do so.
“I think there is a couple of things. There is this idea of a code that, you know, you don’t interfere. I think people are torn,” he said.
“On one hand they don’t want to interfere in democratic electoral processes. On the other hand, you are talking about a president who is unlike anything they have ever experienced,” Goldberg continued. “I think there is also fear. We see this across the board in Donald Trump’s Washington: There is a fear on a kind of a superficial level of a Twitter mob. There is also real fear of personal safety, fear for your family, fear for what you put everybody around you through if you started talking about this sort of thing.”
Trump has vehemently denied making the remarks attributed to him by Goldberg, who credited four anonymous sources. Other media outlets have confirmed at least parts of Goldberg’s reporting.
My response to the horrible lies from anonymous “sources” in the Atlantic: pic.twitter.com/uHtgJvrwCb
— J. Hogan Gidley (@JHoganGidley) September 4, 2020
The central claim in the story is that Trump canceled a trip to a Paris cemetery where fallen U.S. service members are buried. Other world leaders made the trip, but the story said Trump disparaged those who had fallen as “losers” and “suckers” and did not to make the trip because the weather that day would mess with his hair.
Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported over the weekend that she had confirmed through her sources, who are also unnamed, that several parts of the allegations against Trump were true, prompting the president to call for the network to fire her. Goldberg told Hayes that Griffin’s reporting only supports his original report.
Jennifer Griffin of Fox News Did Not Confirm ‘Most Salacious‘ Part of Atlantic Story https://t.co/rUpbSWhHac via @BreitbartNews All refuted by many witnesses. Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. @FoxNews is gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2020
“‘The sources are not anonymous to me.’ Jennifer Griffin said that from Fox News when she was challenged,” Goldberg noted. “I trust these sources. These are people in the various rooms. But, yeah, obviously it would be better if people would … attach their names to what they know.”
Former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonThe Atlantic’s Trump report: We should know the sources of a story this important Trump targets Laurene Powell Jobs in latest attack on Atlantic report Overnight Defense: Critics continue to swipe at Trump over his alleged comments on fallen troops l Trump says he won’t cut funding for Stars and Stripes MORE, who recently penned a best-selling book that heavily criticized Trump, told Fox News on Monday that the claims against Trump were “simply false.”
“According to what that article said, the president made disparaging remarks about soldiers and people buried in the cemetery in connection with the decision for him not to go to the ceremony that was planned that afternoon, and that was simply false,” Bolton told anchor Martha MacCallum on “The Story.”
“I don’t know who told the author that, but that was false,” he added.