Don't believe anything the Atlantic tells you about President Trump.
Let me share a story, one that is not shrouded by "anonymous sources."
It's a hot day in August 2017 and my cell phone is ringing, the White House is calling.
"Mr. Ruddy, this is the White House. The President would like to speak to you, are you available?"
Of course, I am.
I check the time. It's about 5 p.m., and I wonder why the President is calling me late on a busy work day.
I find out soon enough.
"Christopher ..," the President blares with a deeper voice than usual, his typical way of greeting me on the phone.
He wastes little time and begins telling me he just saw the August edition of Newsmax Magazine with our cover story, "His Promise: President Trump Vowed to Fix the VA. It's Happening."
The President is quite pleased by the story, but he is elated by the photograph on the cover.
The magazine cover image has President Trump leaning down from his podium, shaking the hand of former Army Sergeant Michael Verardo, a double amputee.
The President tells me how much he liked the photo.
"This looks great," he says.
I know from experience that he's not always pleased about photographs about him on Newsmax or elsewhere.
Then the President asks me if I knew Sergeant Verardo.
I do not.
"You really should. He's a great guy. And he has an incredible story."
The President knew a lot about Verardo and his heroism, and, I could tell, was quite happy we took notice of him.
So, when the Atlantic story made sensational allegations about the President — alleging he claimed fallen American servicemen were "suckers" and "losers" — I was surprised.
The article also claimed that "Trump is deeply anxious about dying or being disfigured, and this worry manifests itself as disgust for those who have suffered."
Supposedly, while discussing a military parade in Washington, "Trump asked his staff not to include wounded veterans, on grounds that spectators would feel uncomfortable in the presence of amputees. 'Nobody wants to see that,' he said."
In many private conversations, I had never heard the President belittle deceased or disabled American servicemen. Never.
In fact, he always seemed to identify with them, even putting them on a pedestal, as he did with living servicemen and women he would encounter.
One of the reasons the President picked General Kelly as his chief of staff, despite having little political experience, was the fact he admired his military service.
After the Atlantic story, that 2017 phone call I had with the President came to my mind.
If Donald Trump disliked being seen around amputees, why was he so glad Newsmax published a photo of him with a double amputee on the cover of our magazine?
And why was he so interested in Verardo's story that he thought it was important to share with me?
The answers to these questions are clear to anyone who knows Donald Trump.
The President deeply respects and honors the incredible sacrifice people like Sgt. Verardo have made on behalf of the United States.
In 2010, Verardo lost his left leg and most of left arm serving with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan.
If you recall, before President Trump came into office, veterans like Verardo had been relegated to second-class status, and wounded soldiers sometime waited years for medically necessary treatments.
Verardo, who underwent no less than 110 operations, knew how poorly the VA system performed — until President Trump made critical reforms and, in 2017, signed into law the VA Accountability and Protection Act.
So you can believe the Atlantic — and outlets like Fox News and the Washington Post that have "confirmed" the original claims — or you can believe a number of top Trump aides, from supporters like Sarah Huckabee Sanders to detractors like John Bolton, all of whom say the President never made such comments in France or anywhere else.
Frankly, you don't need to believe any of them.
Just believe what Sgt. Verardo says.
Just before writing this, I went online and saw that in July, Verardo authored an article about President Trump for his local North Carolina newspaper.
Here's an excerpt of what Verardo wrote:
"President Trump has earned the support of American veterans because he is a true patriot who understands exactly how much this country means to those who serve.
"It's impossible to love American veterans if you don't love American values or the American spirit. Throughout American history, millions of brave men and women have worn the uniform and risked their lives to protect our heritage, our liberty and our Constitution. ...
"Luckily, President Trump is the type of leader who understands what America is all about, and won't shy away from defending it. ...
"Of course, President Trump's recent actions are merely a continuation of his ongoing effort to safeguard American history and support our Armed Forces.
"Since 2017, his administration has successfully reformed the department of Veterans Affairs, improved veterans' access to high-quality healthcare, rooting out corruption and inefficiency, and making a more dedicated effort to reduce the alarming rate of suicide among our nation's veterans.
"Last month, for instance, the President spearheaded the new Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide initiative, which creates new public health, community, and research programs to help veterans in need. ...
"Throughout his time in office, Donald J. Trump has consistently gone above and beyond to ensure that those who have served this great country receive the respect and support they deserve. ..."
Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax, one of the country's leading conservative news outlets. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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