President Trump’s multiple deferments from the Vietnam War and the “bone spurs” he used to excuse his privileged young self from military service are now infamous in the national discourse, held up by his critics as evidence of his cowardice, privilege, and disrespect for both nation and armed forces.
While the toxic fetishization of military service by both sides of the aisle has reached absurd lengths in the interminable battle to out-patriot each other, the issue of draft dodging by Donald Trump is of particular significance due to the way he weaponizes respecting military service to wage racist culture wars against NFL players, his hypocritical disrespect for fallen armed service members and their families, and his comparison of the dangers of service in Vietnam to his having lots of unprotected sex with women.
Knowing everything that we do about Donald Trump, it will come as no surprise to learn the New York Times’ investigative reporting has revealed that Donald Trump’s infamous “bone spurs” might have never existed at all.
A podiatrist from Queens, New York, named Larry Braunstein first gave the diagnosis in 1968. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2007. But his daughters remember their father telling them about how he had done Fred Trump a “favor” for his son Donald, since his office was rented in a building owned by the Trumps.
“I know it was a favor,” said one daughter, Dr. Elysa Braunstein, 56, who along with her sister, Sharon Kessel, 53, shared the family’s account for the first time publicly when contacted by The New York Times.
Elysa Braunstein said the implication from her father was that Mr. Trump did not have a disqualifying foot ailment. “But did he examine him? I don’t know,” she said.
The Braunsteins also hinted that another doctor, Dr. Manny Weinstein, was involved in the letter; he just so happened to also have lived in two Trump-owned apartments — having moved into the first one the same year Trump got his diagnosis, which would indicate that some kind of quid-pro-quo had likely taken place behind the scenes.
While we don’t know for sure whether or not he actually had any bone spurs, the fact that Trump was known for playing football, squash, and golf during college raises a host of questions the President clearly isn’t interested in answering.
When previously pressed on this issue, Trump maintained that it was a “high draft lottery number” before eventually admitting he had received four deferments for education and one for his bone spurs. “I had a doctor that gave me a letter — a very strong letter on the heels,” said Trump, who conveniently could not remember who that doctor was.
Whether or not he actually had bone spurs is a moot point, since the war is long over and Donald Trump is president and no amount of screeching about hypocrisy will make one iota of difference in his delusion-wracked mind — and in any case, the Vietnam War was a morally abhorrent act of imperialist aggression that was started under false pretenses and accomplished nothing but the deaths of millions, and there should be no shame in refusing to fight in it.
But it does show how Donald Trump has ridden his privilege to safety and comfort throughout his life while hundreds of thousands of less fortunate men were forced to suffer in his stead — and how hollow his fascistic public devotion to the military really is.