The Corner

White House

Jeffrey Goldberg’s Story Is Believable; It Should Not Have Been Published

President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech as the 2020 Republican presidential nominee during the final event of the Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House, August 27, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic, has authored an incendiary story about President Donald Trump. It accuses him of calling fallen soldiers “suckers” and “losers,” and of refusing to visit a military Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France because of that opinion. Of reacting to the death of Senator John McCain — a war hero tortured by the North Vietnamese — by declaring “we’re not going to support that loser’s funeral” and asking of flags at half-mast “What the f*** are we doing that for? Guy was a f***ing loser.” Of saying of wounded veterans “nobody wants to see that.”

It quotes an unnamed retired four-star general as saying “He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself. He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” In fact, come to think of it, there are no named sources in the piece.

And therein lies the rub. Many of the claims made in Goldberg’s piece are not even remotely difficult to believe. Trump is on the record trashing Gold Star parents. He’s on the record, as Goldberg notes, dismissing McCain’s service and expressing his preference for “people who weren’t captured.” That record makes me lean toward believing that the parts about him trashing McCain are probably true. Other parts are less convincing, however. As Jim Geraghty points out in the Morning Jolt, Trump has done numerous events with wounded veterans during his time in office and has never given off an impression of disgust, and those moments have often been among the most humanizing of his presidency. The dearth of named sources and contrasting background evidence means that anyone who says with 100 percent confidence that all of the incidents described did or did not happen is probably driven by confirmation bias.

Moreover, Goldberg’s article will persuade no one. No opponent of the president will be surprised by the piece. No supporter of the president will take Jeffrey Goldberg’s word for it that Trump is a veteran-hating monster. Tim Alberta says that Goldberg’s credibility is beyond reproach. Perhaps Alberta was less appalled by Goldberg’s loathsome and cowardly treatment of Kevin Williamson than I was. Regardless, he should have convinced one of his sources to put their good name behind the piece or held off. It’s irresponsible to make these weighty accusations of the leader of the free world without presenting the public with a shred of hard evidence. Goldberg should have known that.

Most Popular

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More

Hunter Biden on Tape?

In a newly released recording, a man purported to be Hunter Biden is heard rambling about (a) his legal representation of Patrick Ho, a convicted former Hong Kong official he refers to as “the f***ing spy chief of China”; (b) his business dealings with Ye Jianming, the corrupt Chinese high roller, whom Hunter ... Read More

Hunter Biden on Tape?

In a newly released recording, a man purported to be Hunter Biden is heard rambling about (a) his legal representation of Patrick Ho, a convicted former Hong Kong official he refers to as “the f***ing spy chief of China”; (b) his business dealings with Ye Jianming, the corrupt Chinese high roller, whom Hunter ... Read More