Washington DC, Sep 8 (efe-epa).- A day after attacking top military leadership, the president of the United States backpedaled on Tuesday, telling supporters during an election rally in North Carolina that there was nobody who loves the military more than him.
Donald Trump’s words were greeted with applause from the thousands of people gathered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a key battleground state in the November presidential election, in which Trump will face Democrat Joe Biden.
“It’s called disinformation, they give a phony deal out. They did it two days ago with the military. There’s nobody who loves the military more than me!” Trump declared.
Trump referred to an article published Thursday by The Atlantic magazine, which claimed that in 2018 he refused to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France, where Americans killed in the battle of Belleau Wood in World War I are buried, because it was full of “losers” and “suckers.”
Several media outlets, including The Washington Post, CNN and Fox News, have confirmed the information as true, even though Trump has denied making the comments.
Trump’s Tuesday remarks came a day after he attacked top military and Pentagon officials at a press conference on Monday, accusing them of waging wars to boost defense contractor profits.
“I’m not saying the military’s in love with me – the soldiers are,” he said at a White House.
“The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy,” he continued.
In response, Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James McConville said Tuesday that “senior leaders would only recommend sending our troops to combat when it’s required in national security and the last resort.”
Also at the North Carolina rally, Trump once again criticized previous US administrations that he claimed had engaged the country in never-ending wars and boasted of bringing “peace” to the Middle East, while questioning the presence of American troops in that oil-rich part of the world.
He argued that the US has gone from being an importer to an exporter of oil and natural gas thanks to hydraulic fracturing (known as fracking) and therefore should decrease its presence in that region.
“The fact is we don’t have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel – we’ve been very good to Israel. But other than that, we don’t have to be in the Middle East,” he said.
“There was a time we needed desperately needed (to be there) but we don’t need that anymore. We have more than they do. Isn’t that nice? After years of building other countries, we’re finally building our country. America first!” he added.
Some 55 percent of military families in the US describe themselves as conservatives, but according to last month’s Military Times poll, the Republican leader is losing support among the military members with only 37.4 percent inclined to vote for him and 41.3 percent saying they would vote for Biden.
Neither Trump nor Biden have served in the military, but the son of the latter, Beau, who died of cancer in 2015, served in the Iraq war. EFE-EPA