Democratic presidential hopeful and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Thursday ripped into President Trump for faking “a disability in order to avoid serving in Vietnam.”
Asked whether he thought Trump should have served in Vietnam, Afghanistan War veteran said: “Well, I have a pretty dim view of his decision to use his privileged status to fake a disability in order to avoid serving in Vietnam.”
“Yeah, at least not that one,” he doubled down when asked if he thought the condition was faked during an interview with The Washington Post.
Robert Costa: "Do you think [Trump] should have served in Vietnam?"
Pete Buttigieg: "Well, I have a pretty dim view of his decision to use his privileged status to fake a disability in order to avoid serving in Vietnam."
Via WaPo Live pic.twitter.com/5UT9m8TA89
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 23, 2019
Buttigieg went on to criticize the way that Trump had used this deferment to “trivialize disability.”
To him, Trump “took advantage” of his wealthy upbringing to “pretend to be disabled.”
“This is actually really important because I don’t mean to trivialize disability, but I think that’s exactly what he did,” he said.
“And I know that that dredges up old wounds from a complicated time, during a complicated war, but I’m also old enough to remember when conservatives talked about character as something that mattered in the presidency,” he continued. “So I think it deserves to be talked about.”
Trump was granted a 1-Y medical deferment for a bone spurs diagnosis, in addition to four educational deferments, that allowed him to avoid the draft.
The daughters of a New York podiatrist told the New York Times in December that they believe their father gave Trump the bone spurs diagnosis as a favor to Trump’s father, Fred Trump, who was the doctor’s landlord.
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen told the House Oversight and Reform Committee earlier this year that Trump once told him there “was no surgery” for bone spurs and instructed him not to answer reporters’ specific questions about his Vietnam draft deferment.
“Mr. Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery,” Cohen will say in his testimony, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
“He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment,” Cohen adds. “He finished the conversation with the following comment. ‘You think I’m stupid, I wasn’t going to Vietnam.’”