Donald Trump, Draft Dodger

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           Over Memorial Day weekend this past May,  Donald Trump delivered a message, via Twitter, to Americans about the debt owed to this country's veterans: "Honor Memorial Day by thinking of and respecting all of the great men and women that gave their lives for us and our country! We love them," Trump wrote. Throughout his campaign, the Republican nominee has pledged his support for veterans and our fighting men and women.

           As has too often been the case throughout his privileged life, Trump's words and present recollections stand to stark contrast to his actual deeds and to the truth . Earlier this year, The New York Times reported on Donald trumps' military deferments during the Vietnam War era.  In 1968, during the escalation of that conflict,. Donald J. Trump was 22 years old. He was 6 feet 2 inches tall and had an with an athletic build; and he played football, tennis and squash in school.  His medical record showed that his overall health was excellent, and that, in the past, he had only a routine appendectomy when he was ten years old.

          Despite his overall excellent health,  Donald Trump received several deferments that enabled him to avoid service in Vietnam, despite previous claims by him in which he insisted that he missed the draft solely because he had a high lottery number.

           In April of 2011, Trump told WNYW in April of 2011, the New York Fox affiliate, that he was "lucky" to avoid the draft and remembered the lottery taking place while he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "I was going to the Wharton School of Finance, and I was watching as they did the draft numbers and I got a very, very high number and those numbers never got up to," Trump said. In that conversation Trump did not mention he also received several deferments.

          According to his Selective Service records, first obtained by the website The Smoking Gun through a Freedom of Information Act request, Trump received four student deferments between 1964 and 1968 while in college and an additional medical deferment after graduating. Trump graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1968. The lottery occurred in December 1969, conflicting with Trump's recollection of the event.

          Trump received his first two student deferments while enrolled at Fordham University in New York City in June 1964 and December 1965.  He transferred to Wharton as a sophomore that year and received another two 2-S deferments in December 1966 and January 1968 during his last year of college.
          After his graduation Trump was no longer eligible for student deferments and was about to be classified as 1-A, eligible and qualified for conscription. However, in October 1968, he was declared medically unfit to serve except "in time of national emergency," even though he had been declared fit to serve in 1966. In 1972, Trump was ultimately declared ineligible for service and given a final 4-F deferment, purportedly because of of bone spurs.

         In another interview with The New York Times last month, Trump stated that the bone spurs had been "temporary" condition -a "minor" malady that had not had a meaningful impact on him. He said he had visited a doctor who provided him a letter for draft officials, who granted him the medical exemption. He could not remember the doctor's name.

         In the 2015 biography ,The Truth About Trump, the author, Michael D'Antonio, described an interview with Mr. Trump, who at one point slipped off a loafer to display a tiny bulge on his heel. And during a news conference last year, Mr. Trump could not recall which heel had been involved, prompting his campaign to release a statement saying it was both. Trump, who has proclaimed that his health is perfect," claimed that the heel spurs were "not a big problem, but it was enough of a problem." "They were spurs," he said. "You know, it was difficult from the long-term walking standpoint."

           In December of 2015, his longtime personal physician, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, announced that Mr. Trump had "no significant medical problems" over four decades and that, if elected, he "will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." Dr. Bornstein made no mention of the bone spurs but did note the appendectomy from Mr. Trump's childhood
           In an article published last year  in The New York Daily News, Wayne Barrett, a biographer of Donald Trump, justified Trump's evasion of the draft  because it "fit a pattern of avoidance than was commonplace in his generation." What Barrett neglected to mention, however, was the fact that college deferments and medical exemptions supported by physicians' statements were options available only young men of privilege; the children of the working poor and the uneducated were the ones who became fodder in the jungles of Vietnam and  returned home only in body bags.

          Trump insists that he is committed "Making America strong again," a promise that includes strengthening and expanding the welfare-through-warfare machine that has consumed trillions of dollars of taxpayer money since the end of World War II. But, as a draft evader,Donald Trump shares the same lack of credibility that bedevils other prominent GOP weasels who evaded military service such as Dick Cheney and Rudolph Giuliani. If the the past is prologue, Trump's rhetoric is little less than bluster. It simply underscores the fact that the GOP will continue to remain the party of "do as I say and not as I do."


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