'Beau wasn't a loser or a sucker': Joe Biden evokes his dead son to hit out at Trump over comments on veterans

Former vice president’s son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015 after serving in military

Griffin Connolly
Wednesday 09 September 2020 20:51 BST
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'Beau wasn't a loser or a sucker': Joe Biden hits out at Trump over comments on veterans

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was visibly upset as he delivered a portion of his speech on Wednesday skewering Donald Trump for allegedly calling US military veterans “suckers” and “losers.”

The former vice president evoked his late son Beau, who died from brain cancer in 2015, to make his point about how personally hurtful Mr Trump’s reported remarks were to him.

"When my son volunteered to join the United States military, as the attorney general [of Delaware], and went to Iraq for the year — won the bronze star and other commendations — he wasn't a sucker," Mr Biden said at the campaign event in Warren, Michigan, a suburb roughly a 30-minute drive north of Detroit.

"When my son was an assistant U.S. Attorney who volunteered to go to Kosovo while the war was going on, as a civilian, he wasn't a sucker," he said.

He added: "The service men and women he served with, particularly those who did not come home, were not losers."

Most of Mr Biden’s speech dealt with bringing manufacturing jobs back to Michigan from overseas — and protecting existing jobs — by taxing companies that outsource their production and creating financial incentives to keep operations in the US.

But Mr Biden admitted that Mr Trump’s reported denigration of veterans as “suckers” and “losers," as reported in The Atlantic last week and confirmed by several other outlets, marked the closest he’d ever come to losing his temper over something the president has said.

Written by the magazine's editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, and drawing on multiple anonymous sources, the story has been met with outrage from the president's supporters and Mr Trump himself.

The president even called on Fox News to fire one of its reporters who backed The Atlantic’s reporting.

The Atlantic story also quotes various sources describing assorted unflattering incidents involving war dead. One describes Mr Trump refusing to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris on the basis that “it's filled with losers.” Another recalls him telling his staff not to include amputee veterans in a military parade, allegedly saying “nobody wants to see that.”

Mr Trump has fiercely denied the article's claims, asking "what animal would say that?" and suggested its quotes came from disgruntled former staffers.

"Probably it's a couple of people that have been failures in the administration that I got rid of," Mr Trump said to journalists on the tarmac as he arrived back in Washington after a campaign stop on Thursday. "And I couldn't get rid of them fast enough. Or it was just made up ... There's not much more I can say. All they're trying to do is influence a presidential election."

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