Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin all but called Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin a liar on the air today as she tripled down on her reporting that Donald Trump has indeed called troops “suckers” and “losers.”
Yesterday, Mnuchin was asked on Fox News Sunday if he has ever heard Trump disparage the military, as has been reported by The Atlantic and twice confirmed by Griffin. Yet Griffin's reporting has been undermined by Fox.
Host Bret Baier did not mention Griffin’s reporting in his interview with Mnuchin yesterday. This was the full exchange:
BAIER: Have you ever heard the president use any of that language, about veterans, dead or alive, ever being around him?
MNUCHIN: Bret, quite the contrary. This president supports the military in an unbelievable way. He's created more funding to rebuild the military. That was one of the things he campaigned on and he delivered.
I've been with the president to Arlington on Memorial Day. Let me tell you, I've listened to him there, I've watched him go visit sites there. I've been with him to the anniversary of World War II. It was a very emotional experience.
So, no, quite the contrary, I think this president has enormous respect for the military and for the generals, and I've been at the tank at the Pentagon with him. I've been at 9/11 at Pentagon with him. This president respects and supports the U.S. military.
Today, Griffin appeared on Fox’s America’s News HQ show. The segment was front loaded with clips of people disputing the reporting – but none were from Gen. John Kelly, Gen. Joe Dunford or Gen. James Mattis, all former high-level Trump administration officials.
We heard from a former aide to Kelly, V.A. Secretary Robert Wilkie, Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Mnuchin, none of whom were likely on hand when any of the alleged remarks were made.
Griffin began by pushing back against Mnuchin:
GRIFFIN: Well, Arthel, I think it’s important to mention that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who you just heard from, was in the tank meeting at the Pentagon, on July 20, 2017, when the president berated the Pentagon’s four-star generals, calling them “losers” and “dopes” and “babies.”
“You’re all losers, Trump said. “you don’t know how to win any more.” I wouldn’t go to war with you people,” Trump told the 4-star generals. Addressing the room, President Trump exclaimed, “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”
As she read those quotes, a graphic of the book, “A Very Stable Genius” appeared on the screen, suggesting that that’s where her quotes came from, but that was not stated.
GRIFFIN: So when Mnuchin says he has never heard the president speak that way of the military or to generals, that’s patently false.
I confirmed with people who were present at the meeting, the president used those exact words in the Pentagon.
Griffin also pushed back against John Bolton’s denial.
GRIFFIN: John Bolton said on camera that he didn’t hear those comments and that the decision not to go to the [Aisne-Marne American] cemetery was weather-related. In this case, I’m told Bolton was not in the room where it happened.
Then there was an interesting exchange. Neville asked if we’ll hear publicly from Kelly or Mattis.
Griffin’s response seemed to suggest that they confirmed the reporting.
GRIFFIN: I don’t know. I know that they have been asked and rhetorically, and in fact the president has called out at least one of them at the podium, from the White House. But, you know, it is my understanding from talking to multiple military sources this weekend that it is unlikely that many of the former or current serving members of the military want to come on the record and speak about what they saw in various situations that at times alarmed them. They want to keep the military apolitical and that is what everybody is trying to do, who I’ve spoken to in recent weeks and months. They don’t want the military to get dragged into this.
One other quick point. The president has been very good to veterans. He has given the Pentagon almost a blank check, of $738 billion. But he views the relationship with the Pentagon as transactional and he expects complete loyalty. He likes to use the military as props and that’s what my sources have been telling me.
Again undercutting her reporting, banners on the lower-third of the screen throughout most of the interview reiterated the denials we heard at the beginning.
On any legit network, Griffin’s rebuttal of Mnuchin would be big news. But I could not find this segment posted anywhere online by Fox.
You can watch it below, from the September 7, 2020 America’s News HQ.