CLAIM: Former First Lady Michelle Obama claimed President Donald Trump calls fallen soldiers “suckers” and “losers.”
VERDICT: FALSE. The Atlantic story’s claim has never been corroborated, and it never even talked about all fallen soldiers.
In a “closing argument” video released Tuesday for the campaign of former vice president Joe Biden, Michelle Obama claimed: “When our heroic young men and women answer the call and give their lives for our country, [Trump] calls them suckers and losers and publicly mocks Gold Star families and prisoners of war.”
That never happened. Ever.
Michelle Obama is repeating a claim that Biden has made — and that Breitbart News has fact-checked:
Biden was referring to a story in The Atlantic earlier this month that claimed — citing four anonymous sources — that Trump had specifically referred to the American dead in a World War I military cemetery in Europe as “suckers” and “losers.” (Biden went further, claiming Trump had been accused of referring to all veterans that way.)
No one else has corroborated the Atlantic‘s claim. Even Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, who claimed that she had “confirmed” other details in the story (from two similarly anonymous sources), could not confirm the Atlantic‘s “suckers” and “losers” claim.
Moreover, more a dozen current and former Trump administration officials have publicly and demonstratively denied the claims in the Atlantic article — including former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has become a Trump critic.
The reference to “Gold Star families” could also be a throwback to the 2016 dustup with Khizr Khan — who attacked Trump first, from the podium of the Democratic National Convention. (Trump did not even respond until prodded to do so by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.)
In her video, Michelle Obama went on to say: “All this from someone who, as a wealthy, connected young man avoided military service.”
Trump received a medical deferment from military service due to bone spurs — not wealth or connections.
Incidentally, Joe Biden — the candidate Michelle Obama is supporting — received five student deferments from service during the Vietnam War before suddenly being diagnosed with asthma in 1968, when he was 25 years old.
Like Trump, Biden received a medical deferment.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.