Donald Trump at the 2024 US presidential debate
(Justin Sullivan / Getty)

Joe Biden Confronts Donald Trump Over Calling Deceased Soldiers ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’

President Joe Biden and Donald Trump faced off in a presidential debate on June 27. While the debate largely highlighted how dismal the 2024 election will be, there was one heated moment when Biden accused Trump of calling World War I’s fallen soldiers “losers” and “suckers.”

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The debate as a whole was a rather underwhelming affair. Neither candidate revealed anything particularly interesting about their platforms and largely resorted to personal attacks and blaming each other for the state of America’s economy. Meanwhile, Biden gave a disheartening and frustrating performance as he appeared to lose his train of thought multiple times and gave several false, misleading, or even nonsensical answers. However, there was one moment when he displayed some energy and passion as he slammed the former president over disparaging remarks he made about deceased soldiers.

It’s understandable why Trump’s past disparaging remarks left such a lasting impression as Biden, as Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, served in the Iraq War and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service. Beau passed away in 2015 of a glioblastoma, which Biden believes he developed due to exposure to burn pits in Iraq. As a result, one of the most tense moments in the debate arose when Biden confronted Trump over his disgusting comments about fallen soldiers.

What did Donald Trump say about deceased WWI soldiers?

At one point in the debate, Biden referenced his recent trip to France, where he visited the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial. The cemetery is located at the foot of the hill where the Battle of Belleau Wood occurred and serves as the final resting place of many of the 1,811 American soldiers killed in the battle. Biden stated, “I went to the … World War I cemetery where he refused to go. He was standing with his four-star general. And he told ’em, he said, ‘I don’t want to go in there because they’re a bunch of losers and suckers.'”

Referencing his late son, Biden delivered one of the most impactful statements of the debate to Trump, “My son was not a loser. He’s not a sucker. You’re a sucker. You’re the loser.” Trump immediately denied the statement and demanded that Biden apologize for repeating it. However, the president stood his ground, stating fiercely, “A four-star general standing by your side who was on your staff said you said it. Period.” He also condemned the idea that he needs to “apologize” to Trump for anything.

Did Trump really make the “losers and suckers” comment?

In fact-checking that particular exchange during the debate, one will find that Trump is lying in claiming the statement is false. According to The Atlantic, Trump made the comment in 2018 when he was scheduled to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, but canceled the visit at the last minute. Although he claimed the rain forced the cancellation, those on his staff have disputed that argument. Instead, they revealed he canceled the trip because he didn’t care about those who died in war. He told several senior staff members, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” Later, he added that those who died were “suckers.”

Four sources with firsthand knowledge of the incident corroborated The Atlantic’s story. As Biden referenced, White House chief of staff and four-star general John F. Kelly confirmed Trump made the statement. It’s also not the first time Trump has spoken disparagingly of veterans. In 2015, he attacked John McCain, stating that the politician, who spent five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, was not a “war hero” because he was captured. In The Atlantic article, Kelly also recounted an incident where Trump visited the Arlington National Cemetery with him. They were supposed to pay respects to Kelly’s son, Robert Kelly, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. At his son’s grave, Trump asked Kelly, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

Biden was right to bring up the “losers and suckers” comment because America should never forget how disdainfully Trump looks upon the military while his supporters claim to love it. He does not care about America or Americans, seeing as how he can’t even see the importance of respecting and remembering the people who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. There has to be some very vital component of humanity missing in a man who can look at people like Biden and Kelly and tell them that their deceased children were “losers” and “suckers” and that he doesn’t “get” the unimaginable sacrifices they and their families made.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.