Fact-checking the Biden-Trump 'suckers and losers' quote

The first presidential debate between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump had contentious moments.

And one testy exchange in Thursday night’s event occurred when Biden mentioned Trump calling fallen soldiers "suckers" and "losers."

Biden called out the former president during the debate, saying "My son was not a loser, was not a sucker. You're the sucker, you're the loser," Biden told Trump referencing the death of his son, Beau Biden. 

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FILE-President Joe Biden and former President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump participate in the first presidential debate of the 2024 elections at CNN's studios in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 27, 2024. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REY

Biden used the line from a story published by The Atlantic in 2020 that quoted Trump insulting fallen soldiers when he was president, USA Today reported. 

Where did the "suckers and losers" comment originate?

The story, written by Jeffrey Goldberg on Sept. 3, 2020, reported that Trump belittled soldiers killed when the then-president canceled a trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris, France, in 2018.

Goldberg reported that Trump spoke with senior staff members the morning of the scheduled visit.

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According to The Atlantic story, Trump said "Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers." In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as "suckers" for getting killed.

Trump denied making the comments during Thursday’s debate and called for Biden to apologize, which he refused. 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.