WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - As President Trump denied Friday that he ever called fallen U.S. soldiers ’losers’ and ’suckers,’ the Democratic candidate for the north country’s seat in congress said she found the president’s language “appalling” and “disgusting.”
And Tedra Cobb said her Republican rival, Elise Stefanik should “call out this president right now and say ‘those words are wrong.’”
In response, the Stefanik campaign said in a statement that “It’s sad that Tedra has to cling to false smears of President Trump for her failing campaign.”
Cobb and Stefanik are running for the 21st congressional district seat, which takes in all of northern New York including Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Stefanik has held the seat since 2014.
Cobb joined Democrats across the country Friday in attacking President Trump, after an article on The Atlantic magazine’s web site reported that Trump had referred to American soldiers killed in battle as ’losers’ and ’suckers,’ had asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, and went so far as to cancel a visit to a cemetery where U.S. war dead are buried “because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain.”
The president furiously denied the story Thursday and Friday, telling reporters “It was a totally fake story, and that was confirmed by many people who were actually there.”
The Atlantic has said its story is based on four anonymous sources; Friday, a number of Trump aides defended the president, saying they never heard President Trump use such language.
But the Washington Post reported Friday “A former senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly, confirmed to The Washington Post that the president frequently made disparaging comments about veterans and soldiers missing in action, referring to them at times as “losers.”
Update: Fox News National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin, in a series of tweets late Friday afternoon, confirmed the key points of The Atlantic’s reporting.
“It is appalling. It’s disgusting and there just is no bottom to the barrel,” Cobb told 7 News Friday.
“I believe these reports because I’ve watched this president time and again lie and debase others and choose our enemies over our troops. It’s who he is, and Elise Stefanik has chosen him every time.
“So with her Harvard degree and every opportunity that she’s had handed to her, she cannot stand up or will not stand up to this president,” Cobb said.
Stefanik has frequently spoken on behalf of Fort Drum and its soldiers and has advocated for the post in congress. In her campaign’s statement Friday, the campaign notes Stefanik has “worked to deliver $4 million in benefits to north country veterans, successfully led the effort to save Fort Drum from devastating defense cuts, and hosted President Trump to sign the largest pay raise for our troops in a decade...”
When a reporter asked Cobb Friday if it’s fair to tie Stefanik to the president’s words, in light of Stefanik’s record, Cobb said it was.
“Elise Stefanik is the co-chair of President Trump’s re-election committee. She has to unequivocally stand up to this president and condemn his words. And until she does that, they are hers as well,” Cobb said.
The Stefanik campaign statement attacked The Atlantic’s article as “false reporting and yet another desperate smear from the media lying and tearing down President Trump - just like Tedra Cobb does every day.”
In the statement, the Stefanik campaign accuses Cobb of supporting cuts to national defense spending and “She even attacked our National Guard as they were called to protect American cities while radical anarchists were burning them to the ground.”
Cobb’s response? “Elise Stefanik says a lot of things - and many of them are lies.’