Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who left the network for airing a false story about George W. Bush’s military service during the 2004 election, doubled down Tuesday on his support for a story in The Atlantic claiming President Donald Trump disparaged the troops.
The Atlantic cited four anonymous sources who claimed that Trump called American soldiers who died in World War I “losers” and “suckers” in 2018, and also claimed he skipped a visit to a military cemetery because he did not want to get his hair wet in the rain.
The claims have been disputed, on the record, by well over a dozen sources, including former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has become a strident critic of the president. On Sunday, the U.S. Ambassador to France and former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Zach Fuentes both denied the story was true.
Rather, hosting a show on “Radio Andy” on Sirius XM 102, devoted a segment to the Atlantic story, asking callers to react to the story. He asked several whether they believed the allegations were true.
Rather and several callers said that while they could not know for certain, they believed the article’s allegations because of other things the president had said.
“Whether he said it or not, it is believable,” Rather said.
“What about — the president said terrible things about Senator John McCain?” he later asked a caller who said that the real “suckers” and “losers” were those who believed the media uncritically.
His comments echo those of NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander, who said on Friday that whether the story was true or not, it “resonates.” He also referred to Trump’s comments about McCain, which came in 2015 after the late Senator described Trump’s supporters as “crazies.”
Rather acknowledged that many Trump supporters did not believe the Atlantic‘s allegations.
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 new 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.