Mayor Pete Buttigieg accused President Donald Trump of faking a disability to get out of military service.
During a live-streamed video with The Washington Post, reporter Robert Costa asked Buttigieg if he thought Trump should have served during the Vietnam War.
“Well, I have a pretty dim view of his decision to use his privileged status to fake a disability in order to avoid serving in Vietnam,” Buttigieg replied.
Trump notoriously received five deferments to avoid the draft, four because he was legitimately attending college but a fifth because a podiatrist claimed he had bone spurs.
Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, told Congress in February that the President bragged to advisors about getting out of service.
“Mr. Trump claimed (his medical deferment) was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery,” Cohen testified, according to the Military Times.
Buttigieg, who would be the first out president if elected, cast shade on the bone spurs story.
When Costa asked Buttigieg to clarify he thought Trump faked the condition, Buttigieg replied, “Do you think he has a disability?”
Buttigieg made clear that, yes he thinks the president made up having a disability.
“At least not that one,” he said, to audience laughter.
As a former Naval intelligence officer, Buttigieg said he feels comfortable standing up to the commander-in-chief. His comments Thursday came weeks after Trump attacked Buttigieg’s masculinity during a rally in Florida.
“I don’t have a problem standing up to somebody who was working on Season 7 of The Celebrity Apprentice when I was packing my bags for Afghanistan,” Buttigieg said.
But while his comments drew applause and chuckles, he said there’s larger concerns to the president faking a chronic health condition to avoid the draft.
“I don’t mean to trivialize disability, but I think that’s exactly what he did,” Buttigieg said.
The Democrat alluded to other ways Trump has literally mocked the disabled.
But he said getting a medical professional to lie so Trump could dodge the draft — “manipulating the ability to get a diagnosis” — showed particularly scurrilous behavior.
“If he were a conscientious objector I’d admire that,” Buttigieg said.
“But this is somebody who, I think it’s fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact he was the child of a multi-millionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place.”