Former President Donald Trump has again denied denouncing service members as “losers” and “suckers” after a Biden campaign ad highlighted critical comments he reportedly made of the military.

“Donald Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about service to his country,” President Joe Biden wrote Friday in a social media post accompanying the ad.

Most of the reported quotations occurred in private conversations, and other news outlets or people have confirmed many of them.

Still, Trump disputes ever making them. At a campaign rally on Sunday in Las Vegas and on social media, he called the claims “disinformation” and “made up out of thin air.”

The Biden campaign, in the ad, cited a 2020 article in The Atlantic about Trump’s remarks for a majority of the quotations. The story relied on anonymous sources, but many of the accounts have been corroborated by outlets, including The New York Times, and by John F. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general who served as Trump’s White House chief of staff.

Trump, for his part, has repeatedly and emphatically denied making those remarks since the article was published in September 2020, telling reporters then: “For somebody to say the things that they say I said is a total lie. It’s fake news. It’s a disgrace.”

Other comments quoted in the campaign ad were audio snippets of Trump himself or attributed to a Democratic member of Congress. Two of these quotes omitted context that would give a different impression of Trump’s comments.

Here’s a breakdown of the quotations.

Remarks from The Atlantic are anonymously attributed, but corroborated

Five of the quotations in the Biden campaign ad were reported in The Atlantic in 2020.

The article begins with an account of Trump’s decision during a 2018 trip to France to forgo a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, where US soldiers are buried. At the time, Trump and his aides said that rain had necessitated canceling the helicopter ride to the cemetery, but his absence was criticized at home and abroad.

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But according to The Atlantic, that was not true. Rather, Trump was worried that the weather would mess up his hair and did not think the trip was important. The Atlantic reported that in private conversations, Trump had said: “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,” and called the soldiers buried there “suckers” for being killed.

The Atlantic also reported that while standing by the grave of Robert Kelly, John Kelly’s son who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010, Trump had asked: “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

And according to The Atlantic, after receiving a briefing from Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., then the chair of the Joint Chiefs, Trump also asked aides: “That guy is smart. Why did he join the military?”

Finally, The Atlantic reported that when Sen. John McCain, one of Trump’s few Republican critics, died in 2018, Trump said, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral.”

The Washington Post and Jennifer Griffin, the chief national security reporter for Fox News, confirmed that Trump had privately disparaged veterans and soldiers. The Post reported that Trump had called people who served in the Vietnam War “losers” while Griffin reported that Trump used the term “sucker” and asked, “What’s in it for them?”

John R. Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, told the Times that he did not personally hear Trump use those words on the 2018 trip but that the reported comments were not out of character.

Kelly confirmed in 2023 that Trump had used the terms “suckers” and “losers” to describe wounded soldiers and those who were killed or missing in action.

Kelly also said that Trump did not want to stand next to military amputees because “it doesn’t look good for me.” (The Biden ad attributed this particular quote to The Atlantic. The article quotes Trump saying, while asking his staff to omit wounded veterans from military parades, “Nobody wants to see that.”)

Trump has publicly called McCain a “loser” on social media and in a 2015 event. And Miles Taylor, who was chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security at the time, told the Times that Trump was unhappy that flags were lowered to half-staff when the senator died. (Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral.)

A Democratic member of Congress’ quotation has also been corroborated

The Biden campaign ad also includes one remark from Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla.

In October 2017, Trump spoke on the phone with the widow of Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed in Niger. According to Wilson, who was accompanying the widow, Trump said to Myeshia Johnson, “I guess he knew what he was signing up for, but it still hurts.”

The Biden ad omitted the second part of that quote, Trump’s attempt at empathizing with the widow: “But it still hurts.”

Trump also denied making this remark, and claimed he had “proof.” His press secretary at the time said that the call was not recorded but confirmed his account.

But Johnson soon corroborated Wilson’s account and said that Trump’s condolence call made her angry and upset her even more, especially as he struggled to remember her husband’s name. La David T. Johnson’s mother also backed up Wilson’s account.

Trump’s own words

The Biden campaign ad includes audio of Trump speaking at several events.

In one widely reported 2015 event, Trump said of McCain: “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

The comments kicked off a storm of criticism, and Trump defended his remarks at the time by misleadingly claiming that he had agreed four times that McCain was a hero.

The ad also includes — and omits important context from — audio snippets from a 2016 campaign rally: “He handed me his Purple Heart” and “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.”

In a 2016 rally in Ashburn, Virginia, Trump recounted the enthusiasm of his crowds and gave as an example “something very nice” that had “just happened to me.” A man gave him his Purple Heart, Trump said, and told him “I have such confidence in you.” His joke about obtaining the Purple Heart, the medal given to soldiers wounded or killed in action, in this easier fashion was met with applause and laughter.

Trump added that “it was such an honor,” which the Biden campaign ad omitted.

At the time, the comment and Trump’s acceptance of the medal ignited more controversy. A spokesperson for the Military Order of the Purple Heart said recipients are entitled to give them away, but he said that owning one without having earned it was an act of stolen valor.

The recipient of the Purple Heart later said that he gave Trump the medal because he thought Trump would make a great commander in chief and he wanted to remind him of “all the people that have fought and died for this country.”