Former President Donald Trump’s reported disgust with a wounded veteran has sparked outrage.
A new profile of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley offers another look into the former president’s attitude toward those who have fought and served for the U.S. The article, published by The Atlantic, says that Trump did not want wounded veterans at official events because “no one wants to see that.”
“There is no nice way to put it. P01135809 is pure scum,” conservative attorney and vocal Trump critic George Conway said on X, formerly Twitter. P01135809 was Trump’s inmate number when he was booked at Fulton County Jail last month.
The anecdote included in the story describes how Trump reacted to the severely wounded Army captain whom Milley selected to sing God Bless America at his 2019 welcome ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Luis Avila, who served five combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, was left almost completely paralyzed by the detonation of an improvised explosive device in 2011.
Avila’s bio on the Gary Sinise Foundation’s website says that he had his leg amputated after the attack and suffered two strokes, two heart attacks and brain damage as a result of his injuries.
“It rained that day, and the ground was soft; at one point Avila’s wheelchair threatened to topple over. Milley’s wife, Hollyanne, ran to help Avila, as did Vice President Mike Pence,” wrote Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic.
“After Avila’s performance, Trump walked over to congratulate him, but then said to Milley, within earshot of several witnesses, ‘Why do you bring people like that here? No one wants to see that, the wounded.’ Never let Avila appear in public again, Trump told Milley.”
The story drew criticism from online users, who blasted Trump’s “callous and cruel attitude” toward veterans and called the former president the “world’s worst human.”
“Trump’s loathing for an injured war hero speaks more volumes about his low, repulsive character than almost any of the other stories of his public or private behavior,” Republican political strategist and Trump critic Rick Wilson wrote on X. “I’ve read damn near every account of his degenerate, foul life, and this one still shocks.”
“This strikes me as 100% true. Physical appearance/looks are EVERYTHING to Trump,” wrote A.J. Delgado, a former senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign. “A wounded veteran with a missing limb, no matter how heroic, would be a ‘no’ for him.”
It’s not the first time Trump has come under fire for his comments about service members and veterans.
He faced backlash after it was revealed that he canceled a 2018 visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris, a World War I cemetery established by the U.S. War Department, after he said to senior staffers: “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” It was reported that he also referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for being killed.
Trump also had a public feud with the late Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. During his 2016 campaign, Trump said of McCain: “He’s not a war hero. I like people who weren’t captured.”
When the Arizona Republican died in 2018, Trump reportedly told his staff, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral” and became angry over the flags he saw lowered to half-staff. “What the f*** are we doing that for? Guy was a f****** loser,” Trump said.
Newsweek reached out to Trump via email for comment.