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Cobb criticizes Trump for alleged statements on veterans, war dead; Stefanik camp says reports of remarks false

(Cobb photo by Enterprise, Stefanik photo by Watertown Daily Times)

Tedra Cobb, the Democratic candidate for the NY-21 House seat, said she is disgusted by how President Donald Trump has talked about veterans and those who have died while at war. The campaign of her opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, defended the president and called reports of his disparaging remarks false and a smear.

The Atlantic released a report Thursday alleging that Trump has repeatedly called veterans and those who have died in war “losers” and “suckers.” The report states that the president canceled a visit to the Asine-Marne American Cemetery, which holds the bodies of Americans who died in France during World War I, because he feared his hair would be messed up by inclement weather, and because he didn’t value the American war dead.

The report tied that incident to other cases where Trump has spoken disrespectfully about veterans and former prisoners of war. Specifically, the report mentioned what the president has said about the late Sen. John McCain, who was captured when his plane was shot down over Vietnam and spent 5 1/2 years in a prisoner of war camp.

“He’s not a war hero. I like people who weren’t captured,” the president said of McCain during a campaign speech in 2015.

Cobb was quick to criticize the president following The Atlantic’s report. One hour after it was released, she tweeted; “There is no bottom to the barrel. I believe these reports because I have watched this President lie, debase others, and choose our enemies over our own troops time and time again.”

When reached for comment, Stefanik’s campaign denounced The Atlantic’s report as false and said that the Schuylerville Republican has fought hard to support soldiers and veterans during her time in office.

“This is false reporting and yet another desperate smear from the media lying and tearing down President Trump, just like Tedra Cobb does every day,” read an email from Stefanik campaign spokesperson Madison Anderson. “Taxin’ Tedra is the number one anti-Trump Democrat candidate in the entire country funded by Hollywood millionaires. Congresswoman Stefanik has a strong record of standing up for our troops, veterans, and the Fort Drum community.”

Parts of The Atlantic’s report were independently verified by The Associated Press, The Washington Post and Fox News after it was published.

Cobb said Stefanik sides with the president every time he insults or demeans Americans who she says he should be supporting.

“It’s who he is, and Elise Stefanik chooses him every time,” Cobb said in an interview on Friday.

Stefanik has been a vocal supporter of Trump in recent months, defending him during the impeachment hearings in December, traveling with the president to Camp David and to his Tulsa rally, and serving as co-chair of his New York campaign team.

Cobb said the congresswoman’s reluctance to criticize the president shows how she is only interested in her own political career.

“Elise Stefanik cares about protecting this president, and her own political ambition,” she said. “That’s why she doesn’t have the courage to stand up.”

Cobb said that this is not the first time that Stefanik has prioritized her own political career over standing up for her constituents.

“We’ve been talking about her behavior on the bounties put on the lives of American troops,” she said, referring to reports that the Russians paid fighters in Afghanistan bounties if they killed American troops.

“In 2018, Elise Stefanik and Donald Trump showed up at Fort Drum for a photo op, and to sign the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, and neither Trump nor Stefanik could find the guts to say Senator John McCain’s name.”

Cobb said that, considering the congresswoman’s position as co-chair of his New York campaign, until she comes out and issues a statement rejecting the president’s words, she is tacitly agreeing with him.

“Until she comes out and unequivocally condemns his words and actions, they are hers,” Cobb said.

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