Pete Buttigieg is stepping it up while touting his military, executive government and public service experience.
Consider what he said during a recent interview about Donald J. Trump’s “bone spur” medical deferment during the Vietnam War.
Buttigieg is one of more than 20 candidates running for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. He said Trump used his family’s wealth and privilege to concoct the bone spur deferment that kept him out of the military during the height of that war.
“If he were a conscientious objector, I’d admire that,” Buttigieg said. “But this is somebody who, I think it’s fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was the child of a multi-millionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place.”
You go, Mayor Pete!
Indeed, Trump has managed — according to congressional testimony given by Michael Cohen, his former lawyer/friend/fixer — to insult millions of Americans who did serve in Vietnam. Cohen told the House Oversight Committee that Trump said, “Do you think I’m stupid? I wasn’t going to Vietnam.” Trump was trying at the time to hide the details of those medical deferments from the public.
So, only “stupid” Americans went to war in Vietnam? Is that what he said? Well, thank you very much, Mr. President. Call me “stupid.”
Buttigieg did volunteer for service in the Navy and did serve in Afghanistan. So, he does have more military experience than Trump. He also has said he has more military experience than any president since the late George H.W. Bush.
It remains an open question, of course, whether any of this will resonate with voters, who knew about Trump’s dubious deferment when he ran for president in 2016.
Still, I stand with Mayor Pete Buttigieg on this matter, that Trump used — and abused — his standing as a child of privilege when others of his generation found a way to thrust themselves into harm’s way.