Trump's Vietnam bone spur diagnosis made as 'favor' to father: report | News Coverage from USA

Trump’s Vietnam bone spur diagnosis made as ‘favor’ to father: report

WASHINGTON – Two daughters of a New York podiatrist say that 50 years ago their father diagnosed President Donald Trump with bone spurs in his heels as a favor to the doctor’s landlord, Fred Trump, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Trump received five deferments from the draft for military service during the Vietnam War. He received four education deferments while he was a college student and a fifth deferment in 1968 for a medical exemption after he graduated. 

Larry Braunstein, who died in 2007, rented a ground floor office in a building owned by Trump in Jamaica, Queens. His daughters, Elysa Braunstein, 56, and Sharon Kessel, 53, told the Times that their father’s role in Trump’s diagnosis had become “family lore.” 

“It was something we would always discuss,” Elysa Braunstein told the Times. She and her sister are both Democrats who oppose Trump, according to the newspaper. 

Elysa Braunstein said their father made the diagnosis to gain access to the landlord and that she didn’t know if her father even examined the junior Trump.  

“I know it was a favor,” Elysa Braunstein said. 

“What he got was access to Fred Trump,” she told the Times. “If there was anything wrong in the building, my dad would call and Trump would take care of it immediately. That was the small favor that he got.”

The women did not offer any documentation to back up their claims. They said their father’s story also involved a second podiatrist, Manny Weinstein, who died in 1995. Weinstein’s landlord was also Fred Trump. 

The White House did not make Trump available for a follow-up interview to the New York Times and did not respond to written questions about his service record.

In October, the Times reported on how much Fred Trump helped his son through the years, giving him what today would be more than $410 million. 

Trump told the Times in 2016 that a doctor wrote him a letter for the draft board about the bone spurs – which Trump said were “temporary” and “minor” – but he could not recall the doctor’s name. 

“I had a doctor that gave me a letter – a very strong letter on the heels,” Trump told the Times. 

Questions about Trump’s deferments have dogged him at least since 2011 when The Smoking Gun published an extract of his draft record. Critics have noted that Trump was an athlete who enjoyed playing football, baseball, squash, tennis and golf in the years before his medical deferment. 

“I was the best baseball player in New York when I was young,” Trump told interviewer Michael D’Antonio in 2014. “I was always the best at sports.” 

“It was a long time ago,” Trump told reporters at a July 2015 campaign rally in Iowa. “I had student deferments and then ultimately had a medical deferment because of my feet. I had a bone spur.” 

When asked which foot had the problem, Trump – who has claimed to have “one of the greatest memories of all time” – told reporters that he could not remember. His campaign later released a statement saying the spurs affected both feet. 

The late Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran whom Trump said was not a war hero because he got captured, took a veiled shot at the president’s medical deferment during an October 2017 C-SPAN interview. 

“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest-income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve,” McCain said. 

Contributing: Josh Hafner 

More: John McCain mocks Donald Trump’s deferment ‘bone spurs’ (without naming him)

 

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