On September 3, The Atlantic reported that in 2018, President Donald Trump refused to visit a World War I American cemetery near Paris because he didn’t want the rain to disturb his hair, saying the cemetery is “filled with losers.” Later during the same trip, Trump called the over 1,800 U.S. Marines who were killed in the Battle of Belleau Wood, legendary among the Marine Corps, “suckers” for dying in combat, the outlet wrote. Trump also reportedly tried to keep disabled veterans out of a planned military parade because “nobody wants to see that.” Trump, and several White House officials, forcefully denied the report.
The morning after the article came out, Fox & Friends defended its most important viewer, claiming that Trump actually has “reverence for the military,” taking his denials as credible, and complaining that it’s “always anonymous sources.” (Ironically, just three days ago, Fox & Friends hyped a surreal New York Post article alleging widespread mail ballot fraud, based on just one anonymous source.) Guest co-host Pete Hegseth also suggested that “his critics” may have fabricated the entire story in order to “muddy the waters” before the election.
What Fox & Friends’ coverage of this story left out is Trump’s extensive history of making disparaging remarks about veterans. One of the first controversies of his 2016 campaign came when he insulted prisoners of war by saying then-Sen. John McCain “is not a war hero ... because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Trump also publicly feuded with the parents of a U.S. Army captain who was killed in action in Iraq. Trump lied about sending condolence letters to families of service members killed in combat, and he made one such widow cry when he told her that her husband “knew what he signed up for” and forgot his name during the call.
Fox’s routine defense of Trump in the face of his attacks against the military stands in stark contrast to the network’s numerous, ridiculous claims during the Obama administration that President Barack Obama hated the military.
Perhaps most infamously, in 2014, Fox figures joined a feeding frenzy across multiple networks over a video of Obama saluting U.S. Marines with a coffee cup in his right hand, known as the "latte salute." Hannity called it “shocking,” Fox contributor Karl Rove called Obama “insensitive” and “disrespectful,” and then-Fox contributor Allen West said it “seals the deal” on “the level of regard Obama holds for our military.” Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, repeatedly saluted Marines while holding his dog Barney to no widespread outrage.
- In 2010, Fox & Friends and right-wing media attacked Obama for attending a Memorial Day ceremony in Chicago rather than the ceremony in Arlington National Cemetary, where Vice President Biden laid a wreath instead.
- In 2010, Charles Hurt attacked Obama in a New York Post column for marking Veteran's Day at a U.S. military base in South Korea rather than in the United States.
- In 2012, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy baselessly suggested Obama was trying to “disenfranchise the military” for political gain. Fox's source for the segment said that military voting difficulties were not due to partisan politics.
- In 2012, several Fox figures complained that Obama had not given “the credit that’s due” to the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden. Obama repeatedly thanked and praised the soldiers, and awarded Presidential Unit Citations to the units involved in the operation.
- In 2013, Fox host Sean Hannity ran a segment about Obama’s “war on religious liberty in the military,” what his guest Todd Starnes called a veritable “Christian cleansing,” because the Pentagon reiterated a longstanding policy against proselytization.
- In 2014, Fox deceptively edited an Obama speech to falsely claim that he blamed the U.S. troops for the threat posed by ISIS.
- In 2015, a Fox guest blamed Obama’s “Islamic sympathies” for his alleged refusal to get “nasty” with ISIS.
- In 2015, then-Fox contributor Ralph Peters (who had a falling out with Fox in 2018) said Obama “hates the military” and was “such a total pussy” for not doing enough to destroy ISIS.
Update (9/3/20,1:30 p.m.): This post has been updated with additional examples of Fox News attacking Obama.