Half of Americans believe Trump called dead US soldiers “losers” and “suckers”

Jamie BallardData Journalist
September 09, 2020, 6:30 PM UTC

A recent story published in The Atlantic reported that President Donald Trump had referred to American soldiers killed in combat as “losers” and “suckers” during conversations with staff members.  

According to the report, Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump reportedly said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” Later on the same trip, Trump reportedly referred to the marines who were killed at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed. 

Since the story was published, Trump has repeatedly said that he did not make these statements. “I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more,” he said to reporters on September 3, the day after The Atlantic story was published.  

Who do Americans believe?  
YouGov poll of more than 28,000 US adults finds that half of Americans believe that the President of the United States referred to fallen soldiers as “losers” and “suckers.” 


About three in 10 (31%) Americans believe that this story is false. A majority (71%) of Republicans believe the story published by the newsmagazine is false. Among Independents, 44 percent think the story is true while 34 percent believe it’s false.  

President Trump has posted several tweets on social media about the story, alleging that it is not only untrue, but part of a larger plan by the “corrupt Fake News Media.” 

Polling from The Economist and YouGov in June 2020 found that many Americans do think that Trump has generally been treated unfairly by the press.  
More than four in 10 (44%) Americans believe that the national press has treated Trump unfairly. Another 32 percent say he’s been treated fairly, and 23 percent say there has been an equal mix of fair and unfair coverage.   
Subscribe to the YouGov Daily newsletter

Methodology: YouGov asked 28,648 US adults: “A newsmagazine recently reported that President Donald Trump privately referred to American soldiers killed in combat as “losers” and “suckers.” Trump has denied this, saying “I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more.” Do you think this story about Trump referring to soldiers using these terms is true or false?” The survey was carried out online September 4 – 8, 2020. Data were weighted on age, education, gender, race, and Census region to be nationally representative of adults in the United States.  

Image: Getty