President Donald Trump is facing backlash from families of veterans after allegations, sourced anonymously in a report from The Atlantic, that he called fallen heroes "losers" and "suckers." Some are posting on social media about their loved ones who died in war under the hashtag "#NotALoser."
"My grandfather was killed by a landmine while freeing Europe," one veteran's family member tweeted. "He was 29. He was neither a sucker nor a loser."
"My dad served during Vietnam. Not only did he serve, he volunteered ... most definitely #NotaLoser," another wrote.
The uproar comes after the Atlantic reported Trump told his senior staff, "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," during a 2018 visit to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Trump had been scheduled to pay his respects at a venerated U.S. military cemetery where 1,800 marines are buried. But Trump didn't attend—the reason given at the time that rainy weather had grounded Trump's helicopter and the Secret Service didn't want him to travel by car. His then-chief of staff John Kelly, a retired general, attended a wreath-laying instead.
The Atlantic report said Trump also referred to the fallen soldiers as "suckers" for getting killed.
Trump denied the claims while speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Friday.
“It’s a fake story written by a magazine that was probably not going to be around much longer, but it was a totally fake story and that was confirmed by many people that were actually there,” Trump said. “It was a terrible thing that somebody could say the kind of things — especially to me because I have done more for the military than almost anybody else.”
A Trump campaign spokesman called the claims "disgusting, grotesque, reprehensible lies."
Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg is standing by the reporting.
"I have multiple sources telling me this is what happened, and so I stand by it," Goldberg said.
Joe Biden also commented on the report, calling on the president to apologize if the statements are true.