Donald Trump: Draft dodging hypocrite

Perfect timing. As President Donald Trump tried to align himself as the patron of Americans serving in the military, we got another reminder of what a flaming hypocrite he is.

The reminder being that when other Americans put their lives on the line during the Vietnam War, Trump dodged the draft by having a podiatrist write a letter to the draft board the got the hypocrite out of serving. The latest on this long-running controversy:

Daughters of a deceased podiatrist say it's "family lore" that their father helped Donald Trump, long before he became president, avoid being drafted for military service in Vietnam, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The daughters of Larry Braunstein, Elysa Braunstein and Sharon Kessel, told the Times that their father - as a 'favor' - provided the fall 1968 diagnosis of bone spurs that helped Trump get a medical exemption. In return, the doctor received access to Fred Trump, Trump's father and owner of the Queens building in which Larry Braunstein's practice operated.

It might not seem like a big deal to today's generations, who are free from worrying about being sent into combat by their government, but the Selective Service draft was a big, big deal back then, bigger than illegal immigration is today.

One reason was that the draft had become a class issue, with low-income, African Americans carrying a heavier burden of the deadly Vietnam conflict than, rich, white guys like Trump. Some expressed their moral objections by fleeing to Canada; others bravely volunteered. Most, however, were drafted, or like myself, signed up before the draft got me.

This veteran can support the draft dodger if he wants, but not me. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)

This veteran can support the draft dodger if he wants, but not me. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)

But what infuriated many Americans were the cowards who sneaked out of the draft by getting a physician (or a podiatrist) to falsely document that the poor dear had a bone spur or some other condition that disqualified the lad from serving. Like Trump. Like a few that I knew then. And many, many more. It was perhaps the war's most popular dodge.

Yet, Trump had the balls to insult a true war hero,  Sen. John McCain for allowing himself, as it well, to be captured, depriving the imprisoned and tortured pilot of any deserved admiration, McCain scored a bullseye with this response: 

One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest-income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.

Despite that, Trump goes to great lengths to laud GIs for their service, as if he's on their side, as if no one can outdo him when it comes admiring those who volunteer to serve. The service men and women who welcomed his visit and praise can admire him if they choose. I and many others of my generation choose not to because we can see right through him and find no spine.

When it came to nut-crushing time, President Slick was hiding behind a foot doctor. If he really wants to praise the troops and mean it, he should confess to them that he was a draft dodger who, unlike them, put himself ahead of his country.

dennis@dennisbyrne.net

www.dennisbyrne.net 

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