Trump says his experience at New York Military Academy felt like military training. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump reportedly told the author of a forthcoming biography that while he never served in the military, he “always felt” that he had because he attended a military-themed prep school that gave him “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”
According to the New York Times, which received an advance copy of Michael D’Antonio’s “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success,” the real estate mogul feels his experience at New York Military Academy, a boarding school in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., to being in the military, in part because he wore a uniform and participated in marching drills, and because some of his instructors had served in the military.
Trump, whose parents sent him to the school to curb their son’s chronic bad behavior, graduated from the academy in 1964. Trump then attended Fordham University before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance, where in 1968 he received a medical deferment for the Vietnam draft due to “bone spurs on both heels of his feet,” according to his campaign. “The medical deferment was expected to be short-term and he was therefore entered in the military draft lottery where he received an extremely high number, 356 out of 365,” it says.
“My number was so incredible and it was a very high draft number,” Trump told D’Antonio, according to the Times. “Anyway so I never had to do that, but I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people.”
When asked by Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where he gets his military advice, Trump said, “I watch the shows.” (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
It’s not the first time Trump’s feelings about military experience have been called into question during his three-month-old presidential campaign.
In July, the former “Celebrity Apprentice” star suggested Arizona Sen. John McCain, who spent five and a half years in a North Vietnamese prison, is only considered a war hero because he was captured.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said during a campaign event in Ames, Iowa. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Last month during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” the current leader in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination was asked by Chuck Todd where he gets his military advice.
“I watch the shows,” Trump said. “I mean, I really see a lot of great — you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows, and you have the generals and you have certain people that you like.”
And last week, Trump appeared to stumble on several foreign policy questions during an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, who asked the real estate mogul for his thoughts about some high-profile terror leaders, including Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
“Those are like history questions: ‘Do you know this one? Do you know that one?’” Trump fired back. “I will be so good at the military, your head will spin.”