Trump calls for Fox News journalist to be fired
The row over Donald Trump’s alleged remarks denigrating American soldiers has now seen the US president target one of his core areas of support as he called for a Fox News journalist who reported details of the scandal to be fired.
The Atlantic magazine published a story that described how Trump said he cancelled a visit to pay respects at an American military cemetery outside Paris in 2018 because he thought the dead soldiers were “losers” and “suckers”. Other outlets confirmed the news and detailed more incidents of Trump’s insulting attitude to American soldiers.
Among those was the Fox News national security correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, who confirmed in a Twitter thread that Trump called soldiers “suckers”, had questioned why anyone would want to become a soldier and had not wanted to honor war dead at the Aisne-Marne cemetery in France.
Amid furious denials of the story from the White House and Trump allies, Griffin’s reporting probably touched a nerve as it came from the usually reliably pro-Trump Fox News, whose conservative leanings and pro-Trump opinion show hosts are reliable cheerleaders for the president.
In a tweet Trump said: “Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. Fox News is gone!”
The White House has moved to deny the report unusually forcefully perhaps fearful of the scandal’s impact on military-supporting conservatives. Trump himself dismissed it as a politically motivated “hoax”.
“There is nobody feels more strongly about our soldiers, our wounded warriors, our soldiers that died in war than I do,” he told reporters at the White House on Friday. “It’s a hoax,” he said on Friday night.
The first lady, Melania Trump, also weighed in, in a rare political intervention tweeting that the Atlantic story “was not true”.
But Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly, a retired marine corps general, has remained notably silent about the president’s comments.
The Atlantic reported that Trump accompanied Kelly, who was the homeland security secretary at the time, to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017. While standing at the grave of Kelly’s son, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, Trump reportedly turned to Kelly and said: “I don’t get it. What’s in it for them?”
Multiple reports say that close friends and associates of Kelly have encouraged him to speak out, but Kelly has refused on-the-record interviews about the comments.
Anthony C Zinni, a retired marine corps general and close friend of Kelly, told the New York Times that Kelly is likely trying to “avoid taking a position that might be perceived as political”.
“I also think he takes to heart the commitment to confidentiality in matters related to their interaction with the president,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trump, who has speculated that Kelly might have been a source for the Atlantic story, said on Friday that Kelly “was totally exhausted” and “wasn’t even able to function in the last number of months” during his time in the Oval Office.
Other senior military officials, including Jim Mattis, also a retired marine corps general and Trump’s former secretary of defense, have been silent about the comment.
Trump’s Democratic challenger, the former vice-president Joe Biden, pounced on the news amid broad-ranging condemnation of Trump’s reported remark. Biden called the alleged comments “disgusting” and said Trump was “not fit to be commander-in-chief”.
“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,” Biden said in emotional remarks in Wilmington, Delaware.
His son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, deployed to Iraq in 2008.
President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden squared off in a combative but restrained debate Thursday night that gave voters their final chance to size the candidates up before heading to the polls Nov. 3. Trump dialed it back in Nashville after his disruptive previous showing in the first debate in Cleveland late last month resulted in handwringing from within his own party. But there were still plenty of clashes, as the candidates got personal with stinging attacks focused on their families, race and immigration.
A North Carolina man who was indicted last month on charges of child pornography also had plans to commit a mass shooting during the holidays and assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. A federal grand jury indicted 19-year-old Alexander Hillel Treisman a.k.a “Alexander S. Theiss” in September on charges of knowingly possessing an image that contained child pornography, according to the Daily Beast. When authorities investigated Treisman’s electronic devices, they discovered a bounty of disturbing information.
Joe Biden has confirmed he would appoint a special commission to study the US court system over 180 days, if he is elected next month, to provide reform recommendations relating to the supreme court and beyond.
New York and its fellow cities branded anarchist jurisdictions by the Trump administration will file a lawsuit challenging a move to pull their federal funds. The Justice Department last month slapped the label on New York, Seattle, and Portland, saying they could lose federal funding because the administration believes they have failed to rein in “violence and destruction of property” on their streets. The “anarchist jurisdiction” designation came after President Trump ordered the DOJ to identify cities that, in his view, were not responding aggressively enough to protests and crime.