As part of a six-person panel on Tuesday, Ms McCain quickly targeted Ms Huckabee Sanders with questions regarding the recent charges in a report by Atlantic that the President had made derogatory remarks about lost servicemen and prisoners of war and called them “losers” and “suckers”.
Ms McCain, the daughter of former senator and Vietnam veteran John McCain, explained that although she usually harbors a “distrust of anonymous sources” as reported in Atlantic article, she believes that the charges “have legs” because the president has a “record of insulting veterans”.
“The problem, as I said before, is that the president has a habit of saying inflammatory things about people like my father, about people like the Khan family, about people like Col Vindman.” Ms. McCain said, referring to instances where Mr. Trump has been criticized for his attitude towards veterans.
“I think if this accusation had been made anonymously against another politician, I think people would guess it,” she added, asking for the former press secretary’s perspective on the matter.
In response, Ms Huckabee Sanders insisted that the president was always respectful of the military during his tenure.
“Having spent almost every day for two and a half years with the President, I can tell you that I have witnessed first-hand the President’s respect and admiration for the men and women of our armed forces.
“I was one of the few people who was in the room,” said Huckabee Sanders, who served as Mr. Trump’s press secretary between 2017 and 2019, of the accusations of Atlantic.
“I’m not an anonymous source, I’m going into the record, and telling you that didn’t happen.” It is not who this president is and it is not what he thinks of the men and women of our military. “
Written by magazine editor Jeffrey Goldberg and drawing on several anonymous sources, the article detailed a number of alleged unflattering incidents surrounding the president involving war deaths.
Mr. Trump fiercely denied the claims in the article, asking “what animal would say that?” And suggested his quotes were from disgruntled former staff members.
“It’s probably a couple of people who failed in the administration that I got rid of,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “And I couldn’t get rid of it quickly enough. Or it was just made up… I can’t say much more. All they’re trying to do is influence a presidential election.
Ms McCain’s comments follow a long-standing dispute between the McCains and the president. The late senator and the president have never hidden their mutual contempt, and Mr. Trump has publicly criticized the late senator both during his lifetime and after his death.
During his campaign in 2015 for the Republican nomination, Mr. Trump challenged McCain’s title as a “war hero.” “He is not a war hero,” Mr. Trump said. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured. “
The President also doubled down on a bitter tirade against the late senator in 2019 by saying, “I have never been a fan of John McCain and I never will be.”