Peter Alexander, NBC’s White House Correspondent, invited President Donald Trump on Friday to apologize for allegedly disparaging fallen military personnel. The unsubstantiated allegations — which included no evidence — were published by the Atlantic on Thursday.
The Atlantic alleged that Trump derided Americans who died in wars as “losers,” citing unidentified “people with firsthand knowledge” of a discussion with the president in 2018.
Alexander asked for Trump’s apology while wearing a mask. His Twitter profile photo also shows him wearing a surgical mask. He reiterated Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg’s allegations.
NEW: “When my son volunteered and joined the United States military, and went to Iraq for a year, won the Bronze Star and other commendations, he was not a sucker."
Joe Biden angrily responds to allegations in @TheAtlantic that Trump disparaged fallen servicemembers.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) September 4, 2020
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) September 3, 2020
Partial transcript below.
ALEXANDER: Sir, do you need to apologize to military servicemembers and veterans?
TRUMP: No, it’s a fake story written by a magazine that is probably not going to be around much longer, but it was a totally fake story and that was confirmed by many people who were actually there. It was a terrible thing that somebody could say the kind of things and, especially to me, because I’ve done more for the military than almost anybody else.
You look at how the VA is doing. It’s doing incredibly well. We got all sorts of things done, from accountability to veterans’ choice … and it’s got right now the highest approval rating that it’s ever had, 91 percent approval rating. It’s never been anywhere close to that. Nobody’s done what I’ve done, and that includes salary increases, but it really includes a rebuilding of our military, because as you know, when I came here, our military was totally depleted and we spent almost 2.5 trillion dollars.
Trump described the Atlantic‘s claims as “a fake story.” He added, “It’s a disgrace that they’re allowed to do [that].”
Trump concluded, “There’s nobody that considers the military — and especially people that have given their lives in the military — to me, they’re heroes. They’re heroes. It’s even hard to believe how they could do it, the level of bravery, and to me they are absolute heroes.”
Moments later, Alexander joined MSNBC for a live segment in which he framed the allegations as credible.
Obviously the reason the Atlantic story resonates — even as the president dismisses it — is because we’ve heard publicly from the president as he spoke about John McCain in 2015, that he said McCain was only a war hero because he was captured and he likes those who were not captured. So it really does raise questions about the president’s view of service and sacrifice.
The allegations were discredited and denied by on-the-record sources who were present for the discussion in which Trump is alleged to have denigrated fallen troops.
NBC News markets itself as a politically objective and non-partisan news media outlet.