Donald Trump’s controversial comments about military service can be traced all the way back to 1997. In an interview with Howard Stern that resurfaced on BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast on Monday, August 1, the Republican presidential nominee, now 70, linked sleeping around with women to serving in the Vietnam War.
“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world,” Trump told Stern of avoiding STDs. “It is a dangerous world out there. It’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.” (Trump reportedly avoided serving during the Vietnam War by getting student deferments and a medical deferment.)
His 1997 remarks resurfaced on the heels of his latest controversy: The businessman was slammed by Sen. John McCain after criticizing a fallen solider’s Muslim parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, following their Democratic National Convention speech.
In Khizr’s speech, the war hero’s father bashed Trump over his remarks about banning Muslims from immigrating to the United States. “If it was up to Donald Trump, [our son] never would have been in America,” Khizr said during the DNC on July 28. “Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Trump then slammed the Khans during an interview with ABC News on Saturday, July 30. “Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s scriptwriters write it? I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard,” the businessman said, before attacking Ghazala. “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. Maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”
McCain, who the GOP candidate previously criticized as not being a “war hero” despite being a prisoner of war while serving in Vietnam, denounced Trump’s comments.
"While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us," McCain said in a statement on Monday, August 1. "I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump's statement. … I'd like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: Thank you for immigrating to America. We're a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation — and he will never be forgotten."
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