• Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, on Friday, criticized President Donald Trump’s reported comments about American soldiers who died during World War I.
  • The Atlantic on Thursday reported that during a 2018 trip to France, the president – who avoided the draft during the Vietnam War five times – called fallen soldiers “suckers” and “losers.”
  • “This president has been disrespecting the military from the day that he let some sucker – in his view – go in his place to serve in Vietnam because he didn’t want to,” Buttiegig said during an appearance on Fox News on Friday.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Pete Buttigieg, the former candidate for president and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, blasted President Donald Trump on Friday over his recently reported remarks about American soldiers who died in combat.

On Thursday, The Atlantic reported that President Donald Trump in 2018 described American Marines who lost their lives during a World War I battle as “suckers” and “losers” in canceling a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris that November. He also reportedly canceled the trip due to his fears that inclement weather would disturb his hair, according to The Atlantic.

The White House and several people connected to it have since denied the accuracy of The Atlantic report, though Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin said in a Twitter thread she was able to confirm some of The Atlantic’s reporting, which was based on reports from sources it granted anonymity. In response, Trump called on the cable news network to fire Griffin.

Other outlets, including The Associated Press and The Washington Post, also reported the comments first published by The Atlantic on Thursday.

As Business Insider reported noted, Trump has had a noted history of making disparaging comments about US veterans â€" most notably, the late 2012 GOP presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was held as a prisoner of war by North Vietnamese forces for more than five years during the Vietnam War.

On Twitter, Trump denied ever calling McCain a loser, despite a video of him calling him doing so during a 2015 event.

Buttigieg said Friday he wasn't buying the president's denials.

"I mean, look, the president today lied on Twitter about never calling John McCain a loser," said Buttigieg, who served as a US Navy Reserve officer from 2009 to 2017, which included a seven-month tour as a counterintelligence officer in Afghanistan.

"Now, he's asking us to believe that, OK, he's lying about that today, because we can check and see the footage, but he's not lying about the other stuff?" Buttigieg, who dropped out of the Democratic Party's primary race in March, added.

He continued: "He must think we're all suckers, and the amazing thing to me is how little respect he has for the intelligence of his own supporters."

According to a previous Business Insider report, President Donald Trump avoided the military draft five times during the Vietnam war â€" four times for being enrolled and college and once for having bone spurs.

"This president has been disrespecting the military from the day that he let some sucker â€" in his view â€" go in his place to serve in Vietnam because he didn't want to," Buttigieg said.