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President Donald Trump and the White House posted a video of Arlington National Cemetery on Twitter for Memorial Day. While Trump’s supporters were thrilled by the video, his detractors used it to remind him of his own suspicious bone spur diagnosis, which he used to avoid being drafted during the Vietnam War.
Trump received five deferments from the draft when he was younger: four for university reasons and one for bone spurs in his heels. But a 2018 New York Times investigation revealed Trump likely received this diagnosis as a favor to his dad. The podiatrist who diagnosed his injury rented a building from the president’s father, Fred C. Trump.
Trump’s detractors have frequently criticized his draft deferment, including Democratic candidate and Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg, who accused him of “faking a disability” during a Washington Post Live event last week. Late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) also criticized the president’s draft-dodging efforts in 2017. In February, Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, told Congress during a hearing that Trump told him he had no real medical injury at the time, and he just did not want to go.
You lied to the U.S. government about having bone spurs.— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) May 27, 2019
mister president sir, will you be laying a wreath at the headstone of the soldier who took your place in Vietnam, or do you pay one of your flunkies to do that, or more accurately, do you just pretend it's not your problem and do nothing— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) May 27, 2019
One user also pointed out that Trump participated in several sports in college, while having his so-called injury. (A New York Times article also states that he played squash, football, and tennis as an undergraduate.)
In his latest budget request, Trump earmarked $750 billion for military spending, representing a 4.7% increase over the previous year. Because he allocated part of his defense budget to funding his Mexico border wall, the approval of this money is still in judicial limbo.
Stéphanie Fillion is a French-Canadian journalist covering politics and foreign affairs in Montreal, Canada. She has worked for Radio-Canada in Vancouver and was a San Paolo fellow at La Stampa in Turin. In 2015, she won the Eu-Canada Young Journalist Award. She holds an M.A. in Journalism, Politics and Global Affairs from Columbia Journalism School and a B.A. in Comparative Politics, History and Italian Studies from McGill University. Her work appeared in outlets such as Quartz, Vice News, Ipolitics, and PassBlue.