Biden says Trump shouldn’t be Commander in Chief ‘for my son’

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Unitedsteel Workers headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on April 17, 2024.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

President Joe Biden on Wednesday choked up as he blasted Donald Trump, saying the presumptive Republican presidential nominee “doesn’t deserve to be the Commander in Chief for my son.”

Biden’s scathing comment referenced both his late son Beau Biden, who served as a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, and Trump reportedly calling dead U.S. servicemen in a French cemetery “suckers and losers” when he was president.

The incumbent Democrat made the remarks during a speech to a group of United Steelworkers union members in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“But one of the things that I was, as I was doing it today, I was reminded of what my opponent said in Paris not too long ago,” Biden said.

“They asked him to go visit American grave sites. He said ‘no.’ He wouldn’t do it. Because they were all suckers and losers,” Biden said, citing the reports about Trump’s rationale.

“I’m not making that up. The staff who were with him acknowledge it today. Suckers and losers. That man doesn’t deserve,” Biden said, pausing for several seconds as he choked up before adding, “to be the Commander in Chief for my son.”

A spokesman for Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Biden’s statement.

Beau Biden, who was Delaware’s attorney general, served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the National Guard. He spent a year on active duty in the Guard, which included seven months of being deployed in Iraq, starting in 2008.

Beau Biden died from brain cancer in 2015, when his father was vice president in the administration of former President Barack Obama.

In October, Trump’s former White House chief of staff John Kelly confirmed to CNN details from a 2020 article in The Atlantic that included dismissive comments about members of the U.S. military.

The Atlantic article, written by Jeffrey Goldberg, opens with a description of then-President Trump canceling a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, just outside of Paris, in 2018, claiming that rain prevented a helicopter from flying him, and that the Secret Service would not drive him there.

“Neither claim was true,” Goldberg wrote.

“Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day,” Goldberg wrote.

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“In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, ‘Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,'” the article recounted.

“In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as ‘suckers’ for getting killed.”

Kelly, who is a retired four-star Marine general, in October told CNN, “What can I add that has not already been said?”

“A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them,'” Kelly said.

“A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me.’ A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family — for all Gold Star families — on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are ‘losers’ and wouldn’t visit their graves in France.”

A Trump spokesman told CNN in response to that article: “John Kelly has totally clowned himself with these debunked stories he’s made up because he didn’t serve his president well while working as chief of staff.”

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