Nobody seems to care about reports Trump called fallen US troops ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’
The recent reporting of derogatory comments alleged to have been made by President Donald Trump has had little affect on his favorability among registered voters and their decision to vote for him, according to a series of polls
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
The recent reporting of derogatory comments alleged to have been made by the president has had little affect on his favorability among registered voters and their decision to vote for him, according to a series of polls.
According to a September 3 report by The Atlantic's editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, President Donald Trump previously described Marines who died during World War I as “losers” and “suckers,” and did not want injured veterans to appear at a military parade because he believed it would make spectators uneasy.
Goldberg's article prompted speculation on who his anonymous sources were, and was widely cited and circulated by different news agencies for several days.
The following week, a Monmouth University poll found 55 percent of registered voters believed Trump respected military troops and veterans at least somewhat; while at least 45 percent believed he respected them very little or not at all.
By comparison, 71 percent of registered voters viewed former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as someone who respected military troops and veterans at least somewhat; while at least 25 percent believed he did not or did very little to indicate that he did.
The two presidential candidates have maintained similar support levels among registered voters in August, with Biden's 9-percentage point lead with 51 percent of support from registered voters, according to Monmouth University.
“Biden has an edge on the question of respecting those who serve in our armed forces, but it doesn't really look like recent allegations of Trump allegedly disparaging them have created any notable change in the campaign's trajectory,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement.
The Monmouth University poll, which surveyed 758 registered voters from Sept. 3-8 and has a margin of error of 3.6 percent, comes on the heels of The Atlantic's report.
In addition to the disparaging comments towards U.S. troops, Trump, according to multiple sources, reportedly continued to disparage Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona after he died from an aggressive form of brain cancer.
After McCain's death in 2018, Trump was reportedly angry when the senator received half-staff flag honors. He told his staff of McCain, “We're not going to support that loser's funeral,” sources with knowledge of the conversations told The Atlantic.
Trump and his surrogates vehemently denied the claims. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany characterized The Atlantic staff as “liberal activists,” and provided emails as evidence that refuted some of the allegations made in the report. But as the White House attempted to throw cold water on The Atlantic's reporting, some of the claims were corroborated by multiple news outlets, including Fox News.
A separate Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted days after the report's publication indicated that half of American adults believed the claims were credible. Thirty-seven percent of adults polled said they doubted the allegations, while the remaining 13 percent of adults were unsure.
Despite half of respondents finding the claims credible, 58 percent of Republicans or Republican-leaning independents said the allegations had no impact on them voting for Trump, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, 18 percent of the Republicans reportedly said they were more likely to vote for the incumbent after reading the report, while 14 percent said they were less likely.
The findings echo the sentiment of voters “who don't care” about the latest series of unflattering allegations against Trump, according to Democratic strategist Rebecca Katz.
“The thing about Trump is that he keeps saying these ridiculously horrific statements and everybody thinks, 'That's it, that's the one that's going to tank him,'” Katz said. “But nothing ever does.”
Democrats need to talk about ambitious, idea-driven goals ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, Katz said, adding that it “can't just be another referendum on Donald Trump; because we did that last time and we lost.”
“What's the definition of insanity? It's doing the same thing and expecting different results,” Katz said.
Reaction to the report from congressional lawmakers fell mostly on party lines — with Republicans demurring or questioning the legitimacy of Goldberg's anonymous sources, while Democrats pointed to the Trump administration's history of controversies relating to the military and the similarity from the comments he allegedly made in the past.
“Perhaps my presence here is uncomfortable for him,” Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “After all, according to a number of reports, he thinks 'nobody wants to see' wounded warriors like me who lost limbs fighting to keep other Americans safe.”
“But unfortunately for him, I am here,” she added. “And I'm here because the ethos of the United States military is the exact opposite of the selfish, craven, me-first mentality that Trump has shown every hour of every day of his life.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, an Air Force veteran and an outspoken Trump ally, said he doubted the veracity of The Atlantic's reporting.
“This came out two months before an election,” Graham said in a CBS interview. “I've been critical of the president at times. But I want him to be successful. I think he's done a good job as commander-in-chief. And I want the anonymous person to come forward, because I don't buy this. I don't buy that the president has disparaged war dead. I just don't believe that.”
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