President Trump on Sunday called on his fans to inundate The Atlantic's co-owner, Laurene Powell Jobs, with messages after its bombshell report that he had called American soldiers killed in combat "losers" and "suckers" in 2018.
"Steve Jobs would not be happy that his wife is wasting money he left her on a failing Radical Left Magazine that is run by a con man (Goldberg) and spews FAKE NEWS & HATE," Trump tweeted on Sunday morning. "Call her, write her, let her know how you feel!!!"
The president's tweet was his latest salvo in his days-long effort to deny the story, authored by editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg. The story cited several sources with firsthand knowledge of Trump's remarks.
"Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," Trump told aides after scrapping a visit to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 to honour the dead service members, according to the publication, which also reported that Trump later referred to Marines who died during the Battle of Belleau Wood in France as "suckers".
Trump has vigorously denied the report, which NBC News has not independently verified.
"What animal would say such a thing?" Trump said on Thursday night as he returned from a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The White House and other top Trump allies have also denied the report, while Democrats have criticised the remarks as "disgusting".
At the time, the White House claimed that Trump cancelled the trip to the cemetery because the weather made it unsafe to fly there. Other world leaders did venture to the cemetery despite the bad weather.
Multiple publications, including Fox News, have since confirmed portions of The Atlantic story. After Fox News' confirmation, Trump called on the network to fire the correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, who conducted the reporting.
The Atlantic also reported that Trump told aides after Senator John McCain's death, "We're not going to support that loser's funeral," citing three sources with direct knowledge of the comment.
Defending himself, Trump tweeted he "never called John a loser and swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES."
In 2015, Trump publicly said McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, was "not a war hero" and "I like people who weren't captured." At the same event, he said, "I don't like losers" after discussing McCain's 2008 presidential election loss to then-Sen. Barack Obama.
Speaking with ABC's This Week on Sunday, former Senator Chuck Hagel, who also served as Defence secretary under Obama, said that if true, Trump's comments are "despicable".
"But let's go back and look at Mr. Trump's words himself coming out of his own mouth starting in 2016 with what he said about John McCain and what he continued to say about McCain," Hagel said. "How he degraded the service of Generals Mattis and McMaster and just recently General Kelly. The history of this president over the last three and four years is pretty clear."
- This article first appeared on NBC