Trump's alleged vets comments 'beneath the dignity of any commander in chief': Hagel

Martha Raddatz interviews former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on "This Week."
4:12 | 09/06/20

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Transcript for Trump's alleged vets comments 'beneath the dignity of any commander in chief': Hagel
Joining me now with a response, former Republican senator chuck Hagel. A combat veteran himself. Good morning, secretary Hagel. You just heard those veterans, you're a veteran of Vietnam yourself, what's your reaction to the article? Well, thanks, Martha. I'm glad you're doing a segment on this story. Well, my reaction is, if these comments are real, and I'll address that in a second, but if they're real, it's beneath the dignity of any commander in chief. Truly they're despicable. Now, one of the points that veterans made, which was a good point, these are anonymous sources. But let's go back and look at the words from trump himself. Starting in 2016 about what he said about John McCain and what he continued to say about John McCain. How he denigrated the service of generals Mattis, Mcmaster, and most recently, general Kelly, the history of this president over the last three, four years is pretty clear. 2018 experience when he did not go to the American military cemetery in France, to recognize and honor the World War I Marines, every other leader went, every other leader drove, leaders of France, Germany and Canada. You can go through ly of past things that he said from his mouth, actions that he's taken, and it corroborates really the Goldberg article in "The atlantic." How much do you believe this will resonate with the military really? Well, I think it will resonate. Because what I have just said, he's on the record with saying things himself over the past few years. And that -- that makes the credibility of this article and those anonymous comments more and more credible. Now, I said before, if you want to make an anonymous comment and if you feel so strongly about that that you make that comment to an established, well-respected reporter and magazine, you should have the courage to use your name. These guys who said it or allegedly said it, then they should show some courage and step forward as well. I have to say one of the veterans I talked to, who didn't believe it because of the anonymous sources, if someone appeared who had provided information in that article and said it on the record in front of a camera, he said I'm not sure I'd still believe it. President trump has furiously denied this. Well, I think there are those and I understand this business as you do pretty well, who will never believe it, no matter what is said or who said it, and that's just the reality of politics and freedom of expression and we have a great country where you can believe what you want to believe. But facts are facts, Martha, and the reality of those facts are pretty clear. I I think it's a pretty clear indictment of this president's attitude towards the veterans. He'll use them, of course he'll use them as props in his actions, in his statements, no president has ever done that. Use your veterans, use your active military as props. I mean, couple of months ago he sends an airborne division, camps them outside of Washington, the mayor and the police chief didn't ask for that. But it's the continuation of the same actions and words that we have seen for this president the last 3 1/2 years. Okay, thanks very much for joining this morning, secretary Hagel.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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