Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) released this statement on Friday following an article in The Atlantic claiming President Donald Trump made disparaging comments about fallen servicemembers.

“The claims made by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic are jarring to read, yet they would seem credible in light of what President Trump has said about veterans in the past.

“He ridiculed the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for being shot down as a pilot during the Vietnam War. He has never apologized for that statement, instead, he attempts to deny any claims that he has ever dishonored the military service of the senator.

“Further, in 2016, Donald Trump attacked a Gold Star family as having sacrificed nothing. Gold Star father Khizr Khan held up the heroism of his son, Humayun Khan, a Muslim immigrant who gave his life in defense of our country, and then criticized Trump for his vilification of Muslim immigrants through his campaign pledge to ban Muslim immigration into our country. Trump also went on to attack Khizr Khan’s wife, Ghazala Khan, by perpetuating egregious stereotypes of Muslim attitudes.

“This vicious weaving of racism and callousness toward the military sacrifice of immigrant servicemembers was particularly offensive to me, as this year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, a time when I reflect on the sacrifice of my great uncle, Mon Takahashi, who died in combat in Italy at age 23. Meanwhile, my great uncle’s family, which included my grandparents and parents, were unjustly imprisoned in internment camps.

“I know what it is like for an immigrant family to lose one of its beloved members for the defense of our country, even as our country was not treating them fairly. What is especially poignant about this year is the history of racial minorities and immigrants fighting for America and coming home to fight a second battle – a battle for racial equality.

“It is clear to me that Donald Trump has little appreciation for the bravery of veterans, he has contempt for Gold Star immigrant families who have lost their children in battle, and he has complete disregard for the minorities who have shown their love for America, even as America has cruelly turned her back on them. Our veterans fought for a better America – a more perfect America – and Donald Trump dishonors them through his words, his actions, and his politics. To me, this is the greatest desecration of the sacrifices of all veterans.

“Mr. President, veterans are not ‘losers.’ They are not ‘suckers.’ They are patriots, and I am eternally grateful for their service.”

In a tweet on Friday, Trump denied disparaging fallen servicemembers, saying, “I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES. This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealoous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election!”

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