John McCain, the Republican Senator from Arizona, has not forgotten how Trump, during his presidential election days, doubted his status as a bonafide war hero. The Senator delivered a sucker punch to President Donald J. Trump in a full-blown personal attack. In his interview with a prominent media house, McCain pointed to prosperous United States citizens who successfully dodged the service draft in a conflict where he himself spent a number of years suffering as a Prisoner-Of-War (POW). He singled out a special kind of deferment which the then-young and draft-eligible Trump used to evade fighting in Vietnam.
Deferment for the rich
McCain said that every American should be compelled to serve, regardless of his/her income level. He pointed out that the poor served the military while the economically well-off found a number of means to get off the draft list.
Trump enjoyed a total of five deferments during the Vietnam war. Four deferments were due to his college studies and one deferment for some physical condition called 'bone spurs'. For the future US president, the first four were easy. He cited his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and at Fordham University to obtain four distinct deferments. He faced a big problem of how to avoid the war draft when his studies ended. This was solved when he was medically disqualified when physically examined on September 17, 1968. The record of Donald Trump getting disqualified was found in Selective Service System Board in Jamaica, New York. The records are, presently, in the custody of National Archives.
Th ledger records do not elaborate the reason why Trump failed his physical examination. All medical records and the individual files were destroyed by the Selective Services post-draft termination in 1973. The military then converted into a force made up entirely of volunteers. The Trump team did not provide clear answers when asked about the now-President's records at that time.
Trump is in good company. Many prosperous Americans avoided the draft at that time. Coincidentally, a majority of the deferment-eligible candidates mentioned bone spurs. For McCain, this criticism of Trump comes at a time when the President has recently targeted the Senator for destroying the Presidential efforts to repeal Obamacare or Affordable Care Act (ACA). McCain has repeatedly lambasted the President for his 'spurious nationalism'. For Trump, bringing up this matter at this time can turn out to be an uncomfortable start to events.