Just hours after a report attempted to shed light on President Donald Trump’s medical exemption from the Vietnam War draft, a biographer who wrote a book about the president in 2015 spoke to CNN, claiming that he never saw any proof of the bone spurs that allegedly prevented Trump from serving in Vietnam in the late 1960s.
As recapped by Business Insider, Michael D’Antonio, who wrote the biography Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success, was interviewed by CNN’s Don Lemon on Wednesday and asked about the allegations made in a report published earlier in the day by the New York Times. This report cited the two daughters of the foot doctor who had diagnosed Trump with bone spurs in his heel, who recalled their father telling them that he made the diagnosis as a favor to the future president’s father. At that time, Fred C. Trump owned “dozens” of buildings in Queens, New York, including the building where the foot doctor worked.
“I’m not even sure actually that the president knows the truth about this,” D’Antonio told Lemon.
“This is the odd thing: He may have been examined. He took off his shoes and tried to show me these bone spurs. I didn’t see anything.”
Reacting to the claims from podiatrist Dr. Larry Braunstein’s daughters that their father made the bone spur diagnosis so that Fred Trump could immediately “take care” of issues in the building where he worked, D’Antonio added that the allegations might be legitimate.
“So many of his biographical details are hazy. In this case, I believe these women, I don’t think there ever was a medical issue.”
Trump tried to show off his bone spur to his biographer: ‘I didn’t see anything’: Writer and researcher Michael D’Antonio recalled an odd encounter with President Donald Trump when the two discussed the ticket he scored out of the Vietnam War. Wednesday,… https://t.co/MsKT86T0Pc pic.twitter.com/QZ2f7ksc2a— NotComey (@notComey) December 27, 2018
This isn’t the first time since the publication of his Trump biography that Michael D’Antonio has commented about the president’s medical exemption and the circumstances behind it. In 2017, he wrote an article for CNN that called Trump’s justifications for not serving in Vietnam a “series of half-baked recollections” and criticized him for his then-ongoing feud with the late Senator John McCain, who fought in Vietnam and spent time as a prisoner of war.
D’Antonio also gave a detailed recap of what happened when he interviewed Trump for his book and first got a look at the right heel that was supposedly affected by bone spurs.
“He asked me to take a look for bumps, which I didn’t actually see, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt,” D’Antonio wrote.
“He blamed misunderstanding about the issue on his off-the-cuff style, which left people with the impression that he was the lucky beneficiary of the lottery picks and not someone who had sought to be excused for a minor medical problem.”
All in all, Trump received five deferments from the Vietnam War draft, with the first four on account of his college education, and the fifth a result of Braunstein’s diagnosis of bone spurs. Per Politico, he opened up about the final deferment in 2015 while he was campaigning for president, telling ABC News’ This Week that his medical issue was minor and that he was “fortunate” to be exempted because he did not believe in what the Vietnam War stood for.