WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- President Trump was issued 5 draft deferments-one for a medical condition and four for college.
- Due to his deferments, he did not serve in the Vietnam War.
- Many others from influential families found ways to dodge the draft.
At a time when the United States was embroiled in one of the bloodiest years of the Vietnam War, a 22-year-old Donald Trump appeared in perfect health as he was set to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968.
He already avoided the military draft four times to complete his college education. But before he graduated, a diagnosis landed him a fifth deferment- bone spurs- which are protrusions caused by calcium accumulated on the heel bone. The diagnosis came two years after Trump passed a physical exam that declared him available to serve in the Vietnam War.
While the condition can be cured by stretching, orthotics, or surgery, The New York Times reported the president said he never underwent surgery, and that it just healed up over time.
The Times reported on Wednesday that a podiatrist from Queens might have given the president his diagnosis out of respect to his father, Fred Trump.
However, Trump wasn’t the only who managed to avoid the Vietnam War because he came from an affluent family who could afford to send him to college or procure a favorable medical diagnosis.
During the Vietnam era, over half of the 27 million American men qualified to be drafted were deferred, exempted, or disqualified, said peace activist David Cortright.
Typically, men get married, have children, attend college or get diagnosed with medical conditions that made them unfit for service. This led to the conclusion made by the late Sen. John McCain in 2017 that most of those who fought in the Vietnam War came from low-income families.
“One aspect of the conflict 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, very wrong. If we’re going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve,” said McCain who was a Vietnam POW himself, in an interview.
Joe Biden and Dick Cheney also received multiple draft exemptions. Biden received two deferments-one for college, and another for an asthma condition after college.
Cheney was deferred five times-four for college and one for having a child.
Cheney married soon after being classified in 1965 as qualified for military service. Later, when Lyndon B. Johnson said married men could be drafted except those with children, Cheney’s wife became pregnant with their first child.
Others didn’t avoid the draft but asked to be assigned in noncombat zones like Germany and Korea.
Joining the Air National Guard in Texas kept former president George W. Bush from being stationed in Vietnam. Critics have maintained that this was due to commanding officers seeking favor from his father who was an influential Texas congressman that time.
Source: Business Insider