Donald Trump’s middle son Eric Trump has claimed that the ex-president, who escaped service in the Vietnam War after a doctor claimed he suffered from bone spurs, somehow “fought” for the US despite never spending a single day in uniform.
The Trump Organization executive made the outrageous claim in a video posted to social media by attorney Ron Fillipowski.
Eric Trump tells an interviewer who is shown speaking to him remotely: “My father fought for this country. Tom Brady always fought and played for his team.”
Continuing, Mr Trump adds that his father is “playing for Team America”.
The twice-impeached ex-president and his supporters routinely describe his belligerent treatment of political adversaries and his open disdain for critics and members of the press as “fighting,” and many of his allies in right-wing media have suggested that “fighting” for the US also entails using government authority to suppress liberal policy positions such as support for LGBT+ rights.
But in the strictly martial sense of the word, the closest the elder Mr Trump ever got to military service was the years he spent at a New York military school after his father, Fred Trump Sr, sent him there.
Mr Trump nonetheless has compared his own life to that of military veterans, including by describing his effort to avoid sexually transmitted infections whilst dating in the 1970s and 1980s as his “personal Vietnam”.
The ex-president has also made a habit of expressing disdain for the professional soldiers who lead the all-volunteer US forces today, including by claiming he knows more about military matters than top US generals and suggesting that military leaders are “weak” and “woke” because they have endorsed efforts to recruit from among minority and LGBT+ populations or because they’ve criticised what many describe as his politicisation of the US military.
He has also denigrated service members who have either suffered grave wounds or death while in combat zones, such as the late US Senator John McCain, who spent years in a Vietnamese POW camp after being shot down over Hanoi.
During his 2016 campaign, he said McCain was only considered a hero because he had been captured.