Former National Security Adviser and retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said Tuesday that he never heard President Donald Trump make insulting remarks about the military and veterans during his 13 months in the White House.
“I did not,” McMaster replied when asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” whether he’d ever heard the president make disparaging statements — similar to those alleged by anonymous sources in an article in The Atlantic earlier this month.
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McMaster was not pressed further on allegations that Trump called those who fell in battle “losers” and “suckers” during an appearance to promote his book “Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World,” which lays out his views on national security issues facing the U.S. in a changing world.
McMaster left the White House in March 2018 before several of the statements attributed to Trump allegedly were made, but he was there in May 2017 when the president went with then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.
Kelly, a retired Marine general, led Trump to the gravesite of his son, Marine Lt. Robert Kelly, who was killed in Afghanistan.
Trump allegedly asked how those who made the ultimate sacrifice risked their lives without the promise of something in return. “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” he reportedly said.
Kelly has declined requests for comment on the alleged incident.
Other former White House staffers have since come forward to deny that they ever heard Trump disparage the military. But a number of news organizations, including Fox News, have confirmed several of the allegations, while also citing anonymous sources.
Trump has dismissed The Atlantic article as a “total lie,” and White House spokesmen have charged that it has no basis in fact.
The allegations have triggered a bitter back-and-forth between Trump supporters and opponents. Last week, the Trump campaign released a letter of support signed by 235 retired senior officers.
— Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.
Related: Report: Trump Disparaged US War Dead as ‘Losers,’ ‘Suckers’
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