Trump says politicians are pushing a ‘destructive message’ that the nation is ‘oppressive or racist’

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton evidently didn’t hear President Trump make the disparaging comments about U.S. troops reported by The Atlantic — but if Trump did make them, it sounds like Bolton wouldn’t be overly surprised.

Trump on Friday continued to deny a damning report by The Atlantic, which alleged that he canceled a 2018 visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris because he worried his hair would “become disheveled in the rain” and “because he did not believe it important to honor” the dead. Trump also reportedly referred to troops who were killed as “suckers” and asked, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”

Bolton, who was on the Paris trip, commented on the story to The New York Times on Friday, saying, “I didn’t hear that. I’m not saying he didn’t say them later in the day or another time but I was there for that discussion.”

Bolton claimed that canceling the visit was a “straight weather call,” though he also added that Trump didn’t object to it, despite how the president claims he reacted.

“He didn’t say, ‘This is terrible, I have to go out to the veterans,'” Bolton told the Times. “He accepted it and that was pretty much the end of it.”

However, Bolton suggested the comments aren’t out of character for Trump, telling the Times, “I haven’t heard anybody yet react to say, ‘That’s not the Donald Trump I know.'” Bolton also told Bloomberg it’s “it’s certainly possible” Trump made the comments “later in the day.”

AP reporter James LaPorta previously confirmed The Atlantic‘s reporting “in its entirety” with a senior Defense Department official, while The Washington Post confirmed that Trump has “frequently made disparaging comments about veterans and soldiers missing in action,” and the Times writes that Trump “has long scorned those who served in Vietnam as being too dumb to have gotten out of it.” Brendan Morrow

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