Pence slams allegations that Trump called veterans names, canceled trip to cemetery over disdain for slain soldiers

It is 'absolutely absurd,' he said

Vice President Pence on Friday said a report by The Atlantic that President Trump called American war heroes "losers" and "suckers" is "absolutely absurd" and that there is no public servant he has met before who "reveres" American veterans and their families more than Trump.

"Any suggestion that this president doesn't love and respect the men and women of our armed forces and their families is absurd on its face to me because I have walked the grounds of Arlington National Cemetary side by side with President Donald Trump," Pence said during a "Varney & Co." interview.

He added: "I have gone to Dover Air Force Base and stood with him as he consoled grieving families on the day that their loved ones came back to American soil... I have never known anyone in public life who respects or reveres the men and women who serve in our armed forces and their families or our veterans than President Donald Trump."

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence gesture at the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Pence Friday defended the president against allegations that he has shown disdain for veterans. (AP Pho


Fox News reported Friday that two sources who were on the trip in question with Trump refuted the main thesis of The Atlantic's reporting -- that Trump canceled a trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, which is at the site of Belleau Wood, an important World War I battle, because he believed the dead soldiers to be "losers" and "suckers."

The White House had said at the time the decision was made because of poor weather for flying Marine One and the fact that the cemetery was too far a distance for a motorcade to drive.

One of the sources, Roberts reported, is not a fan of Trump. Both sources said that Trump was upset about not being able to go to Aisne-Marne and said they had never heard Trump refer to war dead at Aisne-Marne or in the battle of Bellau Wood as "losers" or "suckers."

Former national security adviser John Bolton, who has openly opposed Trump, saying he will vote for neither the president nor Joe Biden in November, wrote a scathing memoir about his time in the White House. In a passage in that memoir, Bolton actually defends Trump over the decision not to go to the cemetery.

"Marine One's crew was saying that bad visibility could make it imprudent to chopper to the cemetery. The ceiling was not too low for Marines to fly in combat, but flying POTUS was obviously something very different. If a motorcade were necessary, it could take between ninety and a hundred and twenty minutes each way, along roads that were not exactly freeways, posing an unacceptable risk that we could not get the President out of France quickly enough in case of an emergency. It was a straightforward decision to cancel the visit..."

Bolton later added: "The press turned canceling the cemetery visit into a story that Trump was afraid of the rain and took glee in pointing out that other world leaders traveled around during the day. Of course, none of them were the President of the United States, but the press didn't understand that rules for US Presidents are different from rules for 190 other leaders who don't command the world's greatest military forces."

In this Feb. 19, 2020, file photo, former national security adviser John Bolton takes part in a discussion on global leadership at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where it Happened," is inconsistent with reporting


Also in his "Varney & Co." interview, Pence addressed the positive jobs report released Friday, which he called "a testament to the resilience of the American people and a testament to the strong foundation that President Donald Trump poured in our first three years."

When asked about the coronavirus crisis, Pence said that there are already multiple vaccines being manufactured, so that when one is approved by the FDA the government will already have a stockpile of doses to distribute. And in response to comments from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that Trump would need "an army" if he were to visit New York City, Pence accused the Democrat governor of "playing politics with his rhetoric."

Pence also said he and his wife, Karen, would be visiting New York City for the memorial of 9/11 next week.


Fox News' John Roberts contributed to this report.