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Sarah Sanders says Trump didn’t always give ‘the highest level of respect’ to military

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Sarah Sanders tells Meghan McCain there were moments Donald Trump did not give military members ‘the highest level of respect’ as they clash over John McCain’s death but touts president’s ‘heart’ and love for veterans

  • The former White House press secretary got grilled on ABC’s ‘The View’
  • She defended Trump from Atlantic story he called fallen veterans and military members ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’ 
  • Meghan McCain brought up time Trump at first refused to lower flags when father Sen. John McCain died
  • ‘I’m not saying that there weren’t some moments that were heated, that were not of the highest level of respect,’ Sanders responded
  • She brought up the time Trump touched the face of a person she said was a wounded veteran who lost both arms
  • She may have been referencing the time Trump touched a non-military man wearing a cammo hat who had lost his arms at birth 

By Geoff Earle, Deputy U.s. Political Editor For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended President Trump Tuesday in a fiery appearance on ‘The View’ where she spoke to her former boss’s ‘heart’ but admitted he didn’t always treat military members with respect. 

Sanders, who is promoting a book that lavishes praise on her former boss even amid tell-alls by other former aides, was grilled on ABC’s ‘The View’ about last week’s story in the Atlantic magazine that described Trump as calling fallen military members ‘suckers’ and ‘losers.’

She has said repeatedly that one key passage in the story, where Trump refused to go to visit a cemetery where Marine dead are buried on the centennial of the end of World War I, didn’t happen. 

‘I’m telling you I understand who he is in his heart,’ Sanders said.

‘I’m not saying that there weren’t some moments that were heated, that were not of the highest level of respect,’ former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an exchange with Meghan McCain on ABC’s ‘The View.’ She was speaking about a report charging President Trump disrespected military members as ‘suckers’

She was challenged by co-host Meghan McCain, whose father famously clashed with Trump. ‘I like people who weren’t captured,’ Trump said in 2015 in reference to McCain, who spent 5 1/2 years in a Vietnamese P.O.W. camp.

Meghan McCain brought up Trump initially not wanting flags to fly at half mast, then ultimately relenting. She said she had spoken to him by phone. ‘I think he’s aware that there’s been serious damage done’ by his comments,’ she said.  

‘It’s not because I’m a surrogate for the president. It’s because I witnessed it with my own eyes. I saw the president day in and day out treat the men and women of our military with respect,’ Sanders countered.

Sanders got grilled on ABC’s ‘The View’ as she promotes her new book

Meghan McCain brought up famous feuds between Trump and the late Sen. John McCain

‘I like people who weren’t captured,’ Trump said in 2015 in reference to McCain (lower right), who spent 5 1/2 years in a Vietnamese P.O.W. camp.

Trump repeatedly brought up McCain’s vote not to repeal Obamacare both before and after his death

McCain spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese POW camp and sustained injuries when his plane went down over Hanoi

McCain also brought up Trump’s attacks on Khizr Khan and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

‘I watched him lean over and touch a veteran’s face who had lost his arms because he wanted to feel human contact,’ she continued. ‘I’m not saying that there weren’t some moments that were heated, that were not of the highest level of respect. But when it comes to who this president is, at his heart, and how he feels about the men and women of our armed services, I can say from my own experience he has a great level of respect.’

She may have been referencing the time Trump touched the face of a man at a rally in Rock Hill, S.C. The man had two prosthetic arms, and Trump signed one of them. But a fact-checker debunked many media posts about the incident. Although the man wore a commo hat, there isn’t evidence he served in the military. He also was born without his arms. 

Trump’s 2016 campaign posted a video of the encounter during the campaign. It had subbed in the video after another video had to be taken down when it was revealed it contained an image of a veteran bearing Russian military insignia rather than U.S. medals and ribbons. 

Meghan McCain also brought up Trump’s past attacks on gold star father Khizr Khan during the 2016 campaign and on purple heart Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during impeachment. 

She said she was at first inclined to disbelieve the Atlantic story. ‘The problem with the story is it seems like something he would do,’ McCain said.

She told Sanders it had to be an ‘uncomfortable’ conversation.

‘I was with the president in those moments. I was with the president when he made the decision to send an aircraft for your father. there’s no denying the fact that not only did Donald Trump dislike your father, your father disliked the president. They had some very heated exchanges,’ she said. 

Sanders said she was with Trump when plans were made for the canceleed visit to the Aisne-Marne cemetery outside Paris.

But co-host Joy Behar got Sanders to admit she was not ‘standing next to the president’ when former chief of staff Gen. John Kelly visited the graveside of his son at Arlington Cemetery.

According to the Atlantic, which quoted sources with knowledge of the visit Trump turned to Kelly at the grave site of Kelly’s son, Robert. ‘“I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Trump reportedly said. Kelly was Homeland Security Secretary at the time. 

‘I was not standing next to the president for that, no,’ Sanders responded. 

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