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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

He won't back down

by digby

This is a man, after all, who claims to be a pious Christian but has never had to ask God for forgiveness because well ... he's perfect. When asked by Don Imus whether he should apologize to POWs as John McCain suggested he should do:
“Well I’ve actually done that, Don,” Trump replied. “You know frankly, I like John McCain, and John McCain is a hero. Also, heroes are people that are, you know, whether they get caught or don’t get caught — they’re all heroes as far as I’m concerned. And that’s the way it should be.”

“So do you regret saying that?” asked Imus.

“I don’t, you know — I like not to regret anything,” Trump said. “You do things and you say things. And what I said, frankly, is what I said. And some people like what I said, if you want to know the truth. There are many people that like what I said. You know after I said that, my poll numbers went up seven points.”

“You understand that, I mean, some people liked what I said,” added Trump. “I like John McCain, in my eyes John McCain is a hero. John McCain’s a good guy.”

Imus said someone like Trump, who got multiple Vietnam War draft deferments, shouldn’t be criticizing someone like McCain.

“I understand that. Well, I was going to college, I had student deferments. I also got a great lottery number,” Trump said.
That's not what he's said before about his draft status, by the way.
The New York billionaire, who was a genuine student-athlete in his youth, came away with a medical deferment in 1968 owing to bone spurs in both heels, according to his latest explanation. But in seeking to downplay that exemption as “minor” and “short-term,” Trump’s campaign raises more questions than it answers as to how he sidestepped military service during the war.
For many years, Trump — who was born June 14, 1946 — never mentioned his medical deferment, and Saturday’s explanation from his campaign again downplayed its import.

“While attending the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School of Finance, Mr. Trump received a minor medical deferment for bone spurs on both heels of his feet,” the statement reads.

“The medical deferment was expected to be short-term and he was therefore entered in the military draft lottery where he received an extremely high number, 356 out of 365.

“When the draft occurred, they never got near his number and he was therefore exempt from serving in the military,” the statement continues. “Although he was not a fan of the Vietnam War, yet another disaster for our country, had his draft number been selected he would have proudly served and he is tremendously grateful to all those who did.”

In an interview Sunday on ABC News “This Week” Trump stuck to this account, saying the medical deferment was “minor” and insisting that the lottery had been the deciding factor.

“I had a minor medical deferment for feet, for a bone spur of the foot, which was minor,” he said. “I was fortunate, in a sense, because I was not a believer in the Vietnam War…But I was entered into the draft and I got a very, very high draft number.”

In fact, a summary of Trump’s draft record — from the National Archives and Records Administration in Missouri and first published by the The Smoking Gun website in 2011 — tells a different story.

Trump’s medical deferment is listed for October 1968, months after he had left Wharton. And despite the campaign’s statement that it was “expected to be short-term,” there is no evidence in the records of it being dropped before the draft lottery in 1969.

The dates suggest the deferment stemmed from a Sept. 17, 1968, draft physical at the Armed Forces Center in New York described in a 1992 book on the businessman by veteran journalist Wayne Barrett. “The baseball-tennis-squash star qualified for a medical deferment,” Barrett writes, but no explanation is given of the cause.

Various news accounts in 2011 also stopped short, and the first mention of bone spurs appears to have come from Trump this past weekend.

The fact that Trump was called for a physical within months after graduating indicates that there was a very real threat of him being drafted — long before the December 1969 lottery. Any deferment was more than “minor” then. And one big question is whether Trump actively sought the deferment by bringing a letter from his own doctor to the physical citing the bone spur problem.

Young men with access to friendly family physicians had this advantage at the time in dealing with draft physicals. Lower-income individuals, with no doctor but health issues bigger than bone spurs, could find themselves approved for military service.
There was a time that something like this would be a big deal. But considering the vast number of lies he tells about everything, this is meaningless. Still, it's interesting since he's said that his Vietnam was avoiding venereal disease in the 1960s and going to military boarding school gave him more military training than the kind given to actual soldiers. He likes to think of himself as a warrior, that's for sure.