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Trump has repeatedly questioned why Americans who served in Vietnam went to war



The president, who received a deferment draft for bone spur, suggested in those talks that Vietnam veterans did not know how to exploit the system to get out of the service.

Men between the ages of 18 and 26 were required to do military service for 21 months under the draft unless postponed. In January 1973, when the US ended its direct involvement in Vietnam, the US announced that it would join an army made up of volunteers only. In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a proclamation ending the men’s obligation to register for the draft.

Trump has also generally questioned the point of going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, believing that these wars were ill-advised. The president has been wondering aloud, “What did you do with this?” The same source told CNN.

The source spoke to CNN after Trump emphatically denied a story Thursday in The Atlantic magazine alleging that he belittled U.S. soldiers killed in action and skipped a ceremony honoring veterans.

The Atlantic specifically reported that Trump refused to attend a ceremony at the Belleau Wood Aisne-Marne American cemetery in France in 201

8 because he feared the rain would ruin his hair. Trump said U.S. intelligence prevented him from attending the ceremony due to weather conditions.

CNN has not independently verified reporting by The Atlantic, which cited unnamed sources.

Trump has adamantly denied that he shows anything but the utmost respect for the American soldiers.

“They are heroes to me,” he said in the Oval Office on Friday. “In fact, it’s hard to believe how they could do it. And I’ll say that, the level of valor, and to me they’re absolute heroes.”

He called the article on the Atlantic a “false story” and he and the White House have referred to his increase in military spending and a raise in military troops.

Trump has a complicated history with Vietnam. In addition to his medical postponement for bone spurs, Trump also received four delays from the Vietnam War draft due to the training.
In an interview in the late 1990s, Trump, known at the time as an integral part of the New York tabloids, shed light on military service in Vietnam by comparing it to avoiding STDs in the New York dating scene.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump attacked Republican Senator John McCain’s service in the Vietnam War, declaring in 2015 that McCain was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese and held as a prisoner of war.

In a statement on Saturday, Rep. Adam Smith, Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, described Trump as “incapable of performing the duties of commander-in-chief”.

“The president claims he loves the military because it’s part of his political strategy, but when the microphones are turned off and the cameras stopped rolling, he’s shown his true colors,” said Smith. “He has no respect for our military; he sees our service members as window dressing for his US Presidency cosplay.”

This story has been updated with additional background information and context.

CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Dan Merica contributed to this report.


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