Trump, who dodged the draft, just called out someone else's Vietnam-era military service

Source: AP
Source: AP

President Donald Trump criticized a Democratic Senator's service during the Vietnam war in a Thursday morning tweet, despite the fact that Trump himself got five deferments to exempt him from serving in the war — four to attend college and one for bone spurs in his feet. 

"Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?" Trump tweeted. 

There are many issues with Trump's tweet, chief among them that Blumenthal did not misrepresent a conversation with Gorsuch — Trump's Supreme Court nominee. A White House aide confirmed that Gorsuch told Senators on Capitol Hill that Trump's attacks on the judiciary are "disheartening" and "demoralizing."

But Trump's tweet is also a reminder that he avoided serving in the Vietnam War.

In 1968, when he was in college, Trump "seemed the picture of health," the New York Times reported in August. "But after he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, making him eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that would change his path: bone spurs in his heels."

"Up to that time, he was an active athlete," a Trump biographer told the New York Daily News in 2015. "It was bullshit."

Trump once even made light of military service in Vietnam, once bragging to radio shock-jock Howard Stern that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases despite sleeping with many women throughout his life was his "personal Vietnam."

"It is a dangerous world out there. It's scary, like Vietnam," Trump told Stern in a 1997 interview about avoiding STDs. "Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier." 

Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, had inflated his own military service during the Vietnam war. 

Blumenthal claimed in 2008 that he "served in Vietnam." But, in fact, the senator received five deferments for college and other work-related excuses, before joining the Marine Reserve, where he did local projects but never was sent overseas to fight in southeast Asia, according to a New York Times report during Blumenthal's 2010 Senate race. 

Still, the Marine Reserve constitutes service of some kind during the war. That's more than you can say about Donald Trump.

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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