“At the heart of [Trump’s] statement is a lack of respect for those who have served,” the lawmaker tweeted. “A disqualifying characteristic to be president.”
Graham was responding to Trump’s attacks on the late Sen. John McCain, who was captured and tortured in Vietnam during his time in the military. As Graham has become a loyal defender of Trump in the years since the tweet, many took to social media to comment on his past statement.
“This is a tweet that seemed to age well actually,” one user wrote.
“I thought you found your spine for a second there until I saw the date this was tweeted,” remarked another.
“And yet here we are with you continuing to kneel before him,” a third person chimed in.
Although Graham is a supporter of Trump, he has broken with the president on multiple occasions. As The Inquisitr reported, the lawmaker previously pushed back on claims that California Democrat Kamala Harris may not be eligible to be Joe Biden’s running mate due to her heritage, a theory Trump amplified.
As reported by The Guardian, the initial reporting from The Atlantic was corroborated by The Washington Post and the Associated Press. According to the reports, Trump on many occasions disparaged the U.S. military and called them “suckers” and “losers.”
In response to the reports, the White House and Trump have denied the claims. In addition, the president has denied ever calling McCain a “loser,” which conflicts with video evidence of the comment.
Trump tonight: "I never called John a loser"
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) September 4, 2020
Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient who lost her legs in Iraq, slammed Trump for his purported remarks and claimed that he is politicizing the military for his own benefit.
“This is a man who spends every day redefining the concept of narcissism; a man who’s lead [sic] a life of privilege, with everything handed to him on a silver platter.”
Duckworth accused the president of lacking courage and speculated that this deficit is why he is unable to understand others’ courage and bravery.
While speaking to reporters on Thursday night, Trump denied reports that he disparaged the American military and claimed that they are untruthful. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also pushed back on the reporting. According to Meadows, the claims are part of a political smear.