The pilot who somehow landed an Airbus A320 on New York’s Hudson River in 2009 and saved 154 other people in the process has blasted US President Donald Trump over reported comments he made about US military members.
This week The Atlantic published a bombshell report claiming Mr Trump called dead US troops “losers” and “suckers”, and said he didn’t want wounded veterans marching in a military parade because “nobody wants to see that”.
Captain Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III, a former US air force pilot responsible for the river landing that would later be known as the Miracle on the Hudson, said the revelations confirmed Mr Trump “cannot comprehend the concept of service above self”.
“While I am not surprised, I am disgusted by the current occupant of the Oval Office,” Sully said in a thread on Twitter Saturday morning.
“He has repeatedly and consistently shown himself to be completely unfit for and to have no respect for the office he holds.”
The comments reportedly made by Mr Trump have been strenuously denied by him, but other reports expressing similar sentiment have followed.
Fox News’ (normally a friend of the Trump administration) national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported she’d spoken to two senior officials who accompanied Mr Trump on the trip to France where he allegedly made the comments before abandoning a trip to a cemetery where US troops are buried.
“The president would say about American veterans, ‘What’s in it for them? They don’t make any money’,” Ms Griffin reported one of her sources saying.
Another said “it was a character flaw of the President”.
“He could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it.”
The New York Times has reported “people familiar with Mr Trump’s private conversations” said he had a long history of scorning Vietnam veterans, and he is apparently of the opinion that the troops sent there were “too dumb to have gotten out of it”.
Donald Trump deferred being drafted five times: four due to being in college and then once more when a podiatrist said he had bone spurs in his heels.
Mr Trump’s former national security Adviser John Bolton, who accompanied him to France, said he “didn’t hear” Mr Trump make the reported comments, adding “I’m not saying he didn’t say them later in the day or another time, but I was there for that discussion”.
The Atlantic also reported Mr Trump was furious about flags being lowered to half-mast when Arizona Senator John McCain died in 2018.
“What the f**k are we doing that for? Guy was a f**king loser,” he reportedly told aides, repeating a label he applied in 2015, when he again called Mr McCain a “loser” for not winning an earlier bid for Presidency that Mr Trump had supported.
He also said Mr McCain was “not a war hero”.
“He’s a war hero because he was captured, I like people who weren’t captured,” Mr Trump said.
Mr McCain spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war after being shot down during a bombing mission over North Vietnam.
Less than a year after he was captured, North Vietnamese troops offered him release because his father was a high-ranking US commander, but he refused unless they also released all the men who had been captured before him.