Donald Trump’s war with the media has officially extended to what was once his favorite outlet: Fox News. Under fire for a series of reports about Trump’s statements about fallen soldiers, he has spent the weekend denying reports that he disparaged veterans on several occasions and even attacked Fox News for confirming at least aspects of a story in The Atlantic that sparked the news cycle.
The president on Friday called for Fox News to fire Jennifer Griffin, a Fox News reporter who confirmed aspects of a damaging report about comments Trump made about American soldiers, reportedly calling them “suckers” and “losers” in an incident where a trip to a French cemetary where American troops were buried was abruptly canceled earlier in his presidency.
The incident began with Thursday’s story by The Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, which detailed Trump’s canceled trip to Aisne-Marne Cemetery outside Paris. Officially the White House said weather scuttled travel to the cemetery, but Goldberg’s report said Trump didn’t want to mess up his hair in the rain and also disparaged military members who died while serving, calling them “suckers” and “losers.” The report also detailed Trump’s resistance to lowering flags to half mast when John McCain died.
Trump tweeted at length to deny that report and disparage Goldberg on Friday, but other outlets worked to confirm aspects of the report and detail other instances where Trump had disparaged veterans. That includes Fox News, who saw Griffin report and confirm aspects of Goldberg’s piece.
Two former sr Trump admin officials confirm .@JeffreyGoldberg reporting that President Trump disparaged veterans and did not want to drive to honor American war dead at Aisne-Marne Cemetery outside Paris.
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) September 4, 2020
Griffin’s lengthy Twitter thread and an appearance on air instantly went viral. And while the network’s other programs questioned the legitimacy of the reporting, Griffin made Fox one of several outlets that also confirmed reports Trump was working so hard to deny. Trump continued to issue various denials about the reports, and on Friday demanded that Fox fire Griffin for her report.
Jennifer Griffin of Fox News Did Not Confirm ‘Most Salacious‘ Part of Atlantic Story https://t.co/rUpbSWhHac via @BreitbartNews All refuted by many witnesses. Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. @FoxNews is gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2020
CNN has a more thorough rundown of how Fox News has covered the reporting and, in some cases, failed to amplify Griffin’s report while casting doubt on the legitimacy of other outlets’ coverage of the incident. The important context to all this is that Trump desperately wants veterans to cast votes for him this fall, and he’s largely run on a campaign where he has strengthened the military and increased funding. But his words, at least according to multiple sources from multiple networks, have him fighting a very different battle in the weeks leading up to the November election.