by Andrew Kerr
The Atlantic’s majority owner has donated over $1.2 million to Democratic candidates and political committees since 2019 while reportedly keeping in close contact with the magazine’s editor-in-chief, who published an anonymously-sourced story Thursday alleging that President Donald Trump denigrated fallen American soldiers.
Billionaire philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, obtained a 70% stake in The Atlantic in 2017 through her firm, the Emerson Collective. In November, she further solidified her control over the magazine after its longtime chairman, David Bradley, said he was going to step away from management, according to Politico.
Politico noted in its report that Powell Jobs communicates often with The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg.
Powell Jobs contributed $2,800 to former Vice President Joe Biden’s primary campaign in October, and in June she divvied out an additional $610,600 to the Biden Victory Fund. She’s also provided maxed out donations to at least 66 other Democratic politicians since the start of 2019, all the while providing nothing to Republican candidates, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Other notable Democrats that Powell Jobs has contributed to this election season include former Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker, Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang and Michael Bennett, FEC records show. She also contributed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Reps. Joe Kennedy, Ayanna Pressley, Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, the records show.
The Atlantic was the first outlet to report that Biden was running for president in April 2019. Bradley, who’s still identified as The Atlantic’s chairman in the magazine’s masthead, served as a board member of the now-defunct Biden Cancer Initiative.
Goldberg and Powell Jobs did not return requests for comment asking if Powell Jobs had any involvement in or had any advanced knowledge of Goldberg’s anonymously-sourced story. The report, published Thursday evening, alleged that Trump called fallen soldiers “losers” and “suckers” during a 2018 trip to France.
Democrat immediately seized upon the story, and by Friday morning, the progressive PAC VoteVets had produced an ad featuring six Gold Star families pillorying Trump for his alleged comments.
Donald Trump called our fallen troops "suckers" and "losers."
They can't speak for themselves, but these 6 Gold Star families speak for our fallen.
Here is their POWERFUL message.#GoldStarParentsAgainstTrump #VeteransAgainstTrump pic.twitter.com/ZnbFevqkNR
— VoteVets (@votevets) September 4, 2020
A VoteVets spokesman told Daily Caller News Foundation reporter Chuck Ross that the group had no advanced knowledge of The Atlantic’s story and that they pulled an all-nighter to get the ad up so quickly. FEC records show that Powell Jobs has never made a contribution to VoteVets.
Biden said Friday that he’s “never been as disappointed in my whole career” after reading Goldberg’s report, saying it would be “absolutely damnable” if it’s true that Trump made disparaging comments about fallen troops.
Goldberg opened the story saying that Trump had falsely claimed he canceled a visit to the venerated Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 because rain had grounded his helicopter and the Secret Service refused to drive him there. “Neither claim was true,” Goldberg wrote.
Instead, Goldberg reported that four anonymous sources told him that Trump rejected the idea of visiting the cemetery “because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead.”
However, BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold published documents Thursday evening showing that the Navy did indeed cancel Trump’s air transport to the cemetery that day due to rain.
Regarding the lede of this story: I obtained documents from the Navy via #FOIA about Trump's 2018 trip to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris and the documents say his transport was canceled by the Navy due to rain. https://t.co/oNWsvAPy1z pic.twitter.com/keFtW7QC8b
— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) September 4, 2020
And Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs tweeted Thursday that she was told by Trump administration officials that it would have taken three hours to drive the president to the cemetery.
Trump aides defend Trump on Atlantic story. Sarah Huckabee Sanders was with him ahead of the visit to the French cemetery in 2018; aide Zach Fuentes came in to say a bad weather call prevented the helicopter trip, I’m told. It was nearly 3 hours by car. Kellogg wasn’t in room. pic.twitter.com/89DCLA4oH6
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 4, 2020
The White House said in a statement at the time that Trump’s visit to the cemetery was “canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather” and that former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, whose son was killed while serving in Afghanistan, went instead.
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Andrew Kerr is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Laurene Powell Jobs” by Rhododendrites. CC BY-SA 4.0.