President Trump has furiously denied referring to dead US soldiers as "losers" and "suckers", calling the allegation a "disgrace" and "fake news".
Citing multiple sources and incidents, The Atlantic claimed that Trump has repeatedly disparaged soldiers's intelligence and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades.
Speaking at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, Trump addressed the report just hours after its publication, saying:
If they really exist, if people really exist that would have said that, they’re low lifes and they’re liars. And I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more.
So, I just think it's a horrible, horrible thing. It made a great evening into frankly a very sad evening when I see a statement like that. No animal, nobody, what animal would say such a thing?
The Atlantic claims that Trump told senior staff he didn't want to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery while visiting Paris because "it's filled with losers". The report also claims that elsewhere on the trip Trump referred to the US marines who died at Belleau Wood during the Second World War as "suckers".
Trump maintains that his visit to the Aisne-Marne cemetery was cancelled because of "poor weather", an excuse for which he was heavily criticised at the time.
Trump also denied The Atlantic's claim that he referred to the late John McCain, a US senator who was held prisoner for five years during the Vietnam War, as a "loser".
But he did say this, on the campaign trail in Iowa, in 2015.
He lost [his bid for president], so I never liked him as much after that because I don't like losers.
He's not a war hero. He's a "war hero" because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, okay? I hate to tell you.
@realDonaldTrump Here’s what you said on camera. Can’t imagine the things you said in private. You are a traitor an… https://t.co/nFl4fb0dPe