US President Donald Trump is facing a backlash over reports he mocked American soldiers killed in action as “losers” and “suckers”.
The alleged remarks were first reported in the Atlantic magazine, and some details were corroborated by the Associated Press and Fox News.
But the president and his allies have denied he made the remarks.
Veterans’ groups were among those who attacked the president over the reports.
Progressive group VoteVets posted a video of families whose children were killed in action. “You don’t know what it is to sacrifice,” says one.
Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, tweeted: “Who is really surprised by this?”
Analysts say the comments could prove damaging with the president needing support from military voters as he bids for re-election.
What is Trump reported to have said?
According to The Atlantic, Mr Trump cancelled a visit to a US cemetery outside Paris in 2018 because he said it was “filled with losers”.
Four sources told the magazine he rejected the idea of visiting because the rain would dishevel his hair, and he did not believe it important to honour America’s war dead.
During the same trip, the president also allegedly referred to 1,800 US soldiers who died at Belleau Wood as “suckers”. The battle helped to prevent a German advance on Paris during World War One and is venerated by the US Marine Corps.
In 2018 the White House said the visit was cancelled because bad weather had grounded the president’s helicopter. This account was backed up in a recent book by President Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has been a vocal critic of Mr Trump.
The Atlantic’s reporting was based on anonymous sources but the Associated Press said it had independently confirmed many of the remarks. A Fox News correspondent said she had corroborated some of the remarks.
What has the reaction been?
On top of the comments from veterans, President Trump’s challenger in November’s presidential election, Joe Biden, responded by saying his rival was “unfit” to lead.
“If the article is true – and it appears to be, based on other things he’s said – it is absolutely damning. It is a disgrace.” Read more
Read also: IAEA granted access to one of two Iran sites