President Donald Trump Monday told reporters he is "very happy" that former White House deputy chief of staff Zach Fuentes, who had worked under Gen. John Kelly, denied a report that he'd called fallen military members "losers."
"Who would say a thing like that?" Trump said about a story published in The Atlantic that claimed he'd canceled a 2018 visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and denigrated veterans, reports Newsweek. "Only an animal would say a thing like that. There's nobody that has more respect for not only our military but people who gave our lives in the military."
Fuentes told Breitbart News Monday that he did not hear Trump say that the cemetery, where several Americans killed during World War I are buried, was "filled with losers" and denied that he was one of the sources used by The Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeff Goldberg for his story.
He also insisted that Kelly, a retired Marine, who lost his son, Robert, in Afghanistan in 2010, would not have let such a comment stand.
"Honestly, do you think General Kelly would have stood by and let ANYONE call fallen Marines losers?" Fuentes said.
Trump, however, has suggested that the retired general may have been the source for the article and slammed him during a press event last week.
Trump also praised Fuentes in a tweet to thank him, reports the New York Post.
Fuentes also said The Atlantic's sources "are unlikely first-hand accounts."
"They are conflating those people from something the day after," Fuentes said.
"The story is a hoax, written by a guy who’s got a tremendous bad history," Trump said during the afternoon press conference. He also referred to Goldberg as a "big Obama person … a big Clinton person."
Kelly accompanied Trump to France in November 2018, while he was his chief of staff, to honor the 100 year anniversary of the ending of World War I. He has neither confirmed nor denied the report in The Atlantic.
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