Trump may have dodged the Vietnam draft through a bogus bone spurs diagnosis, the New York Times reports.
The daughters of Queens podiatrist Larry Braunstein, who rented his office space from Trump’s father Fred C. Trump, told the newspaper that their father diagnosed the future president with bone spurs to render him ineligible for the draft.
“I know it was a favor,” one daughter, Dr. Elysa Braunstein, told the newspaper. “But did he examine him? I don’t know.”
Braunstein added in the article that her father received direct access to Fred Trump and received preferable rental rates after the purported diagnosis. Calling it “family lore,” she added that the family had discussed the story frequently for years. The elder Braunstein died in 2007.
The Times notes that it could not independently corroborate the version of events that Braunstein’s daughters recall.
Trump, who whipped up discontent about a “rigged system” that benefits “elites” during the 2016 presidential campaign, has said that the name of the doctor who diagnosed him with bone spurs — right in the nick of time — has faded from his memory.
Trump graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, and received his bone spurs diagnosis in the fall of that year. It may have been fortuitous timing for the scion: one year later, the national draft lottery was created, but Trump was subject to a system of draft administered by local boards which both had to conduct medical checks on draftees and meet quotas on new recruits.
Braunstein’s daughters told the Times that another foot doctor named Manny Weinstein may have been involved. Though the newspaper could not verify any link, Braunstein’s family recalled that it may have been possible that Weinstein had a connection to the local draft board. Weinstein, who died in 1995, moved into the first of two Trump-owned apartments in 1968.
There has long been skepticism over Trump’s 1968 diagnosis.
“In recent years, the diagnosis of bone spurs has subjected Mr. Trump to ridicule from critics, who have found it implausible that a healthy and athletic 22-year-old, on the cusp of being declared fit for service, could suddenly be felled by growths in his heels,” the Times article reads. “Mr. Trump’s own shifting narrative over the years about his Vietnam-era experience has added to the suspicions.”