Trump claimed to have a 'bone spur' in one of his many draft deferments used to avoid service during the Vietnam War.
Trump told a group of veterans on Wednesday that he deserves the Medal of Honor, the most prestigious military decoration that can be earned.
"Nothing like the Medal of Honor," Trump said during a national convention of veterans.
Addressing Woody Williams, a World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Trump said, "I wanted one, but they told me I don't qualify, Woody. I said, 'Can I give it to myself anyway?' They said, 'I don't think that's a good idea,'" he said.
Leo Shane, an editor with Military Times, reported that Trump was joking and the crowd "chuckled."
Yet Trump is famous for his multiple efforts to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. Trump received five deferments from the draft, including a medical deferment for bone spurs in his heels.
In early 2019, Trump defended his draft-dodging efforts by saying he was "never a fan" of the Vietnam War and he "thought it was a terrible war."
His comments enraged Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a veteran who lost both her legs in Iraq.
"No one cares whether you were a 'fan' of the Vietnam War," Duckworth said at the time. "No one believes you were medically unfit to serve. You used your wealth & privilege to avoid serving your country five times, forcing another American to serve in your place each time."
"It's par for the course that a guy who said sleeping around in the '80s was his Vietnam would joke about deserving a Medal of Honor," Will Goodwin, an Army veteran and director of government relations for VoteVets, said in a statement to Shareblue. "The only things less funny than this joke are his actual real policies that continue to hurt veterans."
In addition to avoiding military service, Trump has been repeatedly criticized for the way he treats the military during his tenure as commander in chief. Trump has only managed to visit troops in a war zone one single time, compared to spending almost 1 in 3 days of his tenure visiting properties he owns.
His rhetoric about North Korea endangers troops in the region, and veterans have criticized Trump's desire to take money earmarked for military families and use it to build a wall along the U.S. southern border.
In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm election, Trump used troops as political props, sending thousands to the U.S.-Mexico border to draw attention to his own racist anti-immigration policies. There was so little to do that some troops spent their time shoveling horse manure.
Once again, Trump insulted members of the military by declaring, even as a joke, that he deserves the military's highest honor.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.