Editor’s Note: The headline has been updated to make it clear that Jeffrey Goldberg’s admission related specifically to first-hand accounts which contradict The Atlantic’s claim that President Trump lied about weather being the cause of his 2018 cancelled visit to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. More of The Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg’s quote from the CNN interview has also been added for context.
Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief for The Atlantic, confessed that the central claim in his publication’s reprehensible hit piece on the President could very well be false.
The Atlantic column starts off with a claim that the President did not want to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, because “his hair would become disheveled in the rain” and that “he did not believe it important to honor American war dead.”
Remember – this is the lede to the piece and sets up every other argument throughout, like the claim that Trump despises the military and veterans, and referred to them as “suckers” and “losers.”
Goldberg’s acceptance of Bolton’s account means that the claim by his four, off-the-record, anonymous sources that the visit was called off for any reason other than weather may not be correct.
When presented with an excerpt from former national security adviser John Bolton’s book which details how the weather was the cause for cancellation of the visit to the cemetery, not a decision by POTUS over his hair, Goldberg conceded, “I’m sure all of those things are true.”
I just watched Goldberg’s interview on CNN and was struck by his response to evidence that the flight to the cemetery was canceled for weather. Both Bolton and Pentagon sources have confirmed that reason, and Goldberg says that that all may be true… https://t.co/CaKg1rVyTJ
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) September 6, 2020
Goldberg Still Stands By His Reporting
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Not only did Bolton inadvertently provide evidence that Goldberg’s ‘Swift Boat’ attempt of the President was factually incorrect in at least this one aspect, but he followed up in a subsequent interview with Fox News to reiterate the story was false.
“According to what that article said, the president made disparaging remarks about soldiers and people buried in the cemetery in connection with the decision for him not to go to the ceremony that was planned that afternoon,” Bolton stated, “and that was simply false.”
He continued, “I don’t know who told the author that, but that was false.”
The central claim of the story is certifiably fake news, and the American people are supposed to believe the other things your anonymous sources said? That’s not how this works.
Still, Goldberg is standing by the bulk of the story. While he acknowledged that Bolton’s counterclaim about the weather cancellation was true, Goldberg went on to add:
“I’ve heard from people in the Pentagon who, Marines, who are a bit insulted that the idea that the Marines couldn’t fly a helicopter in the rain.
“But the larger point is, is that Donald Trump expressed directly to senior aides his lack of desire to go to the cemetery and not to risk 90 minutes in traffic because he doesn’t understand why one would go pay that level of respect to fallen American soldiers.”
CNN asked the Editor to respond to President Trump’s denials that the comments were ever made.
“I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes,” the President said. “There is nobody that respects them more. So, I just think it’s a horrible, horrible thing.”
He added, “What animal would say such a thing?”
Goldberg replied, “Uh, I stand by my reporting. I have multiple sources saying this is what happened, so I stand by it.”
About Those Sources
Goldberg can stand by those sources all he wants, but it says something about his journalistic integrity that he is willing to run a story based on accounts from four anonymous sources instead of actually researching their claims.
Claims that, by now, have been denied by 21 people overall, and over a dozen who had first-hand knowledge of events that took place during the trip in question.
The Atlantic has four nameless sources, while the President has the following backing him up:
- John Bolton (see above and the excerpt from his book).
This seems like a pretty rock solid rebuttal to the Atlantic piece. It’s not like John Bolton was doing Trump any favors in his memoir. https://t.co/d7gGdh4s5J
— Josh Holmes (@HolmesJosh) September 4, 2020
- Zach Fuentes, Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff to Gen. John Kelly: “I don’t know who the sources are,” Fuentes told Breitbart News. “I did not hear POTUS call anyone losers when I told him about the weather. Honestly, do you think General Kelly would have stood by and let ANYONE call fallen Marines losers?”
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Former White House Press Secretary:
The Atlantic story on @realDonaldTrump is total BS. I was actually there and one of the people part of the discussion – this never happened. I have sat in the room when our President called family members after their sons were killed in action and it was heart-wrenching…
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) September 4, 2020
- Lt. General Keith Kellogg (Ret.), National Security Adviser for Vice President Pence: “The Atlantic story is completely false. Absolutely lacks merit. I’ve been by the President’s side. He has always shown the highest respect to our active duty troops and veterans with utmost respect paid to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and those wounded in battle.”
- Hogan Gidley, Former White House Deputy Press Secretary:
My response to the horrible lies from anonymous “sources” in the Atlantic: pic.twitter.com/uHtgJvrwCb
— J. Hogan Gidley (@JHoganGidley) September 4, 2020
- Dan Scavino, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications:
I was with POTUS in France, with Sarah, and have been at his side throughout it all. Complete lies by “anonymous sources” that were “dropped” just as he begins to campaign (and surge). A disgraceful attempt to smear POTUS, 60 days before the Presidential Election! Disgusting!! https://t.co/mQfCNUlyZm
— Dan Scavino🇺🇸🦅 (@DanScavino) September 4, 2020
- Jordan Karem, Former Personal Aide to President Trump:
This is not even close to being factually accurate. Plain and simple, it just never happened 🤷♂️ https://t.co/8YZlWS83I3
— Jordan Karem (@JordanKarem1) September 3, 2020
- Stephen Miller, White House Senior Advisor: The Atlantic story is a “despicable lie” and “the president deeply wanted to attend the memorial event in question and was deeply displeased by the bad weather call.”
- First Lady Melania Trump:
.@TheAtlantic story is not true. It has become a very dangerous time when anonymous sources are believed above all else, & no one knows their motivation. This is not journalism – It is activism. And it is a disservice to the people of our great nation.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 4, 2020
- Dan Walsh, Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff: “I can attest to the fact that there was a bad weather call in France, and that the helicopters were unable to safely make the flight.”
- Derek Lyons, Staff Secretary and Counselor to the President: “I was with the President the morning after the scheduled visit. He was extremely disappointed that arrangements could not be made to get him to the site, and that the trip had been cancelled.”
- Johnny DeStefano, Former Counselor to the President:
I was on this trip. The Atlantic bit is not true. Period. https://t.co/gf88OoRYla
— Johnny DeStefano (@johnnydestefano) September 4, 2020
- Tony Ornato, White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Former Secret Service Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division:
Meadows says he spoke to aides who were with Trump on the France trip in 2018, including senior adviser Stephen Miller and Tony Ornato, then the head of the presidential protective detail, “who I just spoke to really just pushed back very hard” on the Atlantic reporting.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 4, 2020
- U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco Jamie McCourt: “In my presence, POTUS has NEVER denigrated any member of the U.S. military or anyone in service to our country. And he certainly did not that day, either. Let me add, he was devastated to not be able to go to the cemetery at Belleau Wood. In fact, the next day, he attended and spoke at the ceremony in Suresnes in the pouring rain.”
The Atlantic’s house of cards is quickly crumbling @JeffreyGoldberg
“Ambassador McCourt was there the day Trump’s team called off the trip to the cemetery at Belleau Wood because of inclement weather.”
U.S. Ambassador to France Denies The Atlantic Storyhttps://t.co/5wjS5HXvMi
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 7, 2020
- Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff:
…contained in the Atlantic story are offensive, false, and utterly devoid of merit. To veterans all over the country reading this nonsense: President Trump loves you, appreciates you, and will ALWAYS be there for you. No false political hit job will EVER change that.
— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) September 4, 2020
- Kayleigh McEnany, White House Press Secretary:
I see President @realDonaldTrump consistently express his heartfelt gratitude and absolute admiration for our brave men and women in uniform.
Just yesterday, he was truly humbled to be in the presence of our courageous World War II veterans.
This Atlantic story is garbage!
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) September 4, 2020
- Judd Deere, Deputy Press Secretary for President Trump:
Not a soul brave enough to put their name on any of these accusations. That’s because they are false. Just another anonymously sourced story meant to tear down a Commander-in-Chief who loves our military and has delivered on the promises he’s made. What a disgrace! https://t.co/NInGxeDcI2
— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) September 3, 2020
- Mick Mulvaney, Former Acting White House Chief of Staff:
I never heard the President disparage our war dead or wounded. In fact, the exact opposite is true. I was with him at the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy….
— Mick Mulvaney (@JMMulvaney1) September 4, 2020
- Alyssa Farah, White House Communications Director:
On that Atlantic piece: It’s offensive & patently false. @realDonaldTrump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to the force: delivering a pay raise to our troops, increasing military $$, signing vets reform & supporting military spouses.
— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) September 3, 2020
- Nick Ayers, Former Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence:
— Nick Ayers (@nick_ayers) September 8, 2020
- Major General (ret.) Bill Matz, Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission:
Make it 21 statements refuting The Atlantic’s false reporting & demonstrating @realDonaldTrump’s respect for our nation’s heroes.
This from retired Maj. Gen. William Matz, who was present in France during the time in question: pic.twitter.com/XF1oVtcqbR
— Brian Morgenstern (@BMorgenstern45) September 8, 2020
At least fourteen of the aforementioned people were on the trip in which these anonymous sources claim the President disparaged veterans.
In a perfect world, the Trump administration wouldn’t need to publish so many denials of the story.
In a perfect world, the left-leaning, pro-Biden media would instead be fair, impartial, and balanced in their reporting, never running a story with so many holes in it from so many weak sources.
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