Brandon Bell/Getty Donald Trump
More allegations are surfacing about Donald Trump's criticism of wounded warriors, with a new report by The New Yorker detailing how the former president wanted to throw a grand military parade while he was in office — but he didn't want any disabled veterans to appear.
"Look, I don't want any wounded guys in the parade," Trump told his own generals when discussing the idea of a Fourth of July military parade, according to The New Yorker. "This doesn't look good for me."
The outlet reports that Trump was inspired to host his own military parade after seeing one in Paris, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the American entrance into World War I. But Trump, The New Yorker alleges, "explained with distaste that at the Bastille Day parade there had been several formations of injured veterans, including wheelchair-bound soldiers who had lost limbs in battle."
His then chief of staff John Kelly — whose own son Robert was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan —— told Trump that those soldiers "are the heroes," and that, "In our society, there's only one group of people who are more heroic than they are — and they are buried over in Arlington."
"I don't want them," Trump reportedly responded, reiterating: "It doesn't look good for me."
The parade never took place — a fact that likely didn't disappoint the generals, who the outlet writes weren't keen on the idea in the first place. The Atlantic reports that Trump's Defense Secretary James Mattis said, "I'd rather swallow acid," when the idea was first brought up.
Elsewhere in the article, The New Yorker details how Trump soured on his own generals, loudly complaining to Kelly at one point: "You f------ generals, why can't you be like the German generals?" He then clarified: "The German generals in World War II."
Pressed by Kelly, Trump allegedly said that those generals "were totally loyal to [Hitler]," alluding to his desire for loyalty — not to the country, but to himself.
Trump himself didn't dispute his distaste for some of his own generals, offering a statement to the outlet saying, "These were very untalented people and once I realized it, I did not rely on them, I relied on the real generals and admirals within the system."
Reports about Trump mocking those who have been injured in war have circulated for years. Back in 2017, Politico and Axios co-founder Mike Allen reported that the president had been "physically mocking" Vietnam veteran John McCain.
McCain, who died in 2018, suffered from lifelong injuries sustained during his time as a prisoner of war and could not lift his arms above his shoulders.
He's made public remarks about people with disabilities, as well, saying in a speech to Olympic and Paralympic athletes at a White House ceremony in April 2018 that the Paralympic competitions between athletes with disabilities were "tough to watch too much."
In 2020, a report from The Atlantic went into further detail about Trump's criticism of wounded veterans, alleging that that he called U.S. soldiers "losers" and "suckers" during a 2018 trip to Paris when he canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery.
The Atlantic reported that Trump "rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day."
"Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," Trump reportedly said to senior staff members the morning the trip was scheduled to take place.
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Trump has since denied the story, calling it a "disgrace" and claiming that the Secret Service would not let him go to the cemetery because of rainy weather conditions.
The Atlantic report also backed up The New Yorker's report regarding the planned military parade. According to The Atlantic, Trump said in a 2018 White House planning meeting for the military parade that he did not want wounded veterans included because "nobody wants to see that."