On Wednesday during his visit to the United Kingdom, President Donald Trump reiterated his dubious claim that he had a legitimate medical deferment from serving in the Vietnam war — but appeared to add that he didn't feel particularly compelled to do his part anyway because he "wasn't a fan" of the war.
Former White House official David Gergen pulled no punches on CNN's "OutFront."
"51 percent of people believe the United States should have stayed out of Vietnam; 57 percent of the 50 or older think that," said host Erin Burnett. "Obviously it was a divisive war. David, does that justify his comments as a sitting president of the United States?"
"Absolutely not," said Gergen. "And let's be very clear, Erin, the only thing that veterans hate more than a draft dodger is a man who lies about it. And that's what this president has been doing about his lack of military service for a number of years now.
"Just to review the bidding, he had four deferments for education, fair enough. But then he had the fifth deferment that kept him out of the war for so-called bone spurs," said Gergen. "And that — the medical records are lost, but the daughters of the podiatrist who worked with him say that the podiatrist basically gave him that letter that would disqualify him from service as a favor to the family. These bone spurs in a healthy man, an athletic man, magically disappeared later. The record is quite clear."
"I just want to say one other thing. It's particularly galling that he would take — these views once again come up and be featured in a news story tonight on the 75th anniversary of D-Day," added Gergen. "This ought to be a day we solemnly remember, and instead we have Donald Trump parading this fraudulent story."