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Trump's "bone spurs" to avoid Vietnam were bogus, say podiatrist's daughters

It was family lore that the doc had done it as a favor to Fred Trump

by Alex Lubben
Dec 26 2018, 3:20pm

President Donald Trump is happy to bash draft dodgers and brag about his big, beautiful military budget, but it seems the “bone spurs” diagnosis that got Trump himself excused from military service was bogus.

A podiatrist who rented his Queens office space from Trump’s dad, Fred, helped Donald Trump avoid heading to war in Vietnam as favor to Fred, said the doctor’s daughters who spoke with the New York Times. The doc himself, Larry Braunstein, died in 2007, but his daughters told the Times the favor Trump called in was family lore.

“I know it was a favor,” Dr. Elysa Braunstein, 56, told the Times.

The favor got the Braunsteins a direct line to their landlord. “What he got was access to Fred Trump,” Elysa said. “If there was anything wrong in the building, my dad would call and Trump would take care of it immediately. That was the small favor that he got.”

In 1968, Trump had exhausted the education deferments that kept him ineligible for service and two years prior, he’d undergone a physical exam that didn’t turn up anything that could have kept him from serving. That’s when the otherwise healthy 22-year-old military academy graduate showed up in Braunstein’s office, where he was diagnosed with bone spurs in his heels.

Critics have called him out on using bone spurs as an excuse to avoid war. Trump said in 2016 the doctor wrote a ”very strong letter” saying he had the foot condition, but Trump has also said it was ultimately a high draft number that kept him from serving. But by the time the draft was instituted in 1969, Trump had been medically ineligible for service for a year.

Whatever draft-dodging Trump might have been a part of, it hasn’t kept him from taking pot shots at a Gold Star family that was critical of him; nicknaming Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Democrat from Connecticut, “Da Nang Dick” for mischaracterizing his own service record; and bashing late Sen. John McCain, who was tortured in Vietnam. “I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said in 2015.

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Portraits of President Donald Trump's parents Mary Anne MacLeod Trump and Fred Trump, far right, are seen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, during Trump's meeting to discuss potential damage from Hurricane Michael, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)