President Donald Trump’s allies have rushed to his defense following reports that he called dead American troops “losers” and “suckers,” with some prominent supporters, including his eldest son, using the Iraq War to criticize Joe Biden.
Republican strategist Andrew Surabian accused The Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg of being “a propagandist for the Military Industrial Complex” on 4 September.
Goldberg wrote the original article about Trump’s alleged comments and refusal to visit a military cemetery. Trump denies making disparaging remarks about dead troops and said bad weather prevented him from traveling to the cemetery while in France.
“It says everything about how broken the media is that after @JeffreyGoldberg helped lie this nation into the Iraq War, he wasn’t run out of journalism in embarrassment, but rather given promotions to continue his shoddy ‘journalism’ unabated,” Surabian tweeted on 6 September, following up on his own comment.
Donald Trump Jr. picked up Surabian’s argument and attacked both Goldberg and Biden over Iraq.
“Joe Biden & his media propagandists like @JeffreyGoldberg pretend to care about the troops, but Goldberg printed lies about phony ties between Al-Qaeda & Iraq that politicians like Biden used as justification to vote to send Americans to die in Iraq. Blood is on their hands!!!” he tweeted.
“Trump fixed the VA after Obama-Biden left it in shambles/scandal,” Trump Jr. went on. “Trump is trying to end forever wars. Biden voted for Iraq War & has a 50 yr record supporting unnecessary wars. Trump properly funded our military after Obama-Biden decimated it. Who really disrespects our troops?”
Trump War Room, a Twitter account operated by the Trump campaign, shared a video from 2007 of Trump discussing veterans returning from Iraq.
“Nobody talks about the soldiers that are coming back with no arms and no legs… The most beautiful people I’ve ever seen,” Trump said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
These comments are in stark contrast to The Atlantic report’s claim that Trump didn’t want amputees in military parades because “nobody wants to see that.”
Charlie Kirk, founder of conservative group Turning Point USA and a high-profile Trump supporter, criticized Biden for voting for the war.
“Joe Biden voted for and championed the Iraq war,” Kirk said. “Joe Biden was VP when our four Americans were abandoned in Benghazi…Joe Biden is a terrorist appeaser. That is his foreign policy legacy.”
The Biden Campaign has been asked for comment.
Speaking this week, Biden made reference to his late son Beau Biden when responding to the reports of Trump’s alleged comments.
“When my son volunteered and joined the United States military as the attorney general and went to Iraq for a year, won the Bronze Star and other commendations, he wasn’t a sucker,” Biden said.
“The servicemen and women he served with, particularly those who did not come home, were not losers.
“If these statements are true, the president should humbly apologize to every Gold Star mother and father and every Blue Star family that he’s denigrated and insulted. Who the heck does he think he is?”
Trump has sometimes claimed he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning. However, he not only advocated attacking Iraq before the 2003 invasion but praised it at the time.
“It looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint,” he said in March, 2003, shortly after the invasion. Trump’s position on the Iraq War changed during the course of the conflict.