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Buttigieg, a military vet, says Trump pretended to be disabled to dodge the draft

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By Josh Lederman

WASHINGTON — Pete Buttigieg accused President Trump on Thursday of exploiting his privileged upbringing to “fake a disability” during the Vietnam War so that “somebody could go to war in his place.”

Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan as a Navy intelligence officer, sought to use his own military background to draw a sharp contrast with Trump during a “Washington Post Live” interview. Pressed on whether he believed that Trump, who cited bone spurs in his heel to be exempted from the draft, had a disability, Buttigieg suggested he did not — “at least not that one.”

“If you’re a conscientious objector, I’d admire that,” said Buttigieg, the South Bend, Ind., mayor and Democratic 2020 contender. “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.”

Allegations that Trump dodged the draft have been a sore spot for the president dating back to his 2016 presidential campaign, when it was revealed that he had received five deferments from service in the Vietnam War — four for education and one for a diagnosis of bone spurs.

Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, told the House Oversight Committee in February that Trump had told him “there was no surgery” and “You think I’m stupid? I wasn’t going to Vietnam.”

Buttigieg also lambasted the president for reportedly considering pardons for several U.S. service members or contractors convicted or accused of war crimes, calling it “disgusting.”

“If you are convicted by a jury of your military peers of committed a war crime, the idea that the president is going to overrule that is an affront to the idea of good order and discipline and to the idea of the rule of law, the very thing we believe we’re putting our lives on the line to defend,” Buttigieg said.

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

But Buttigieg in recent days has increasingly attracted Trump’s attention as he’s gained traction in the Democratic presidential primary. Trump earlier this month mocked Buttigieg as Alfred E. Neuman, the goofy cartoon mascot of Mad Magazine, and criticized Fox News for hosting Buttigieg on Sunday for a town hall event.

As Buttigieg works to increase his appeal to black voters, he blasted Trump on Thursday for what he described as “the racism that is emanating from this White House.” Asked whether Trump is a racist, Buttigieg said, “I think so.”

“If you do racist things and say racist things, the question of whether that makes you a racist is almost academic,” Buttigieg said. “The problem with the president is that he does and says racist things and gives cover to other racists.”

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Politics

Labour coup to oust Watson after he plotted to be PM in anti-Brexit Government

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THE sneaky bid to oust Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson was sparked by suspicions he was scheming with Tory rebels and Liberal Democrats MPs to become prime minister of a caretaker Government.

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Booker says it's time for his campaign to 'grow or get out'

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MSNBC’s Vaughn Hillyard asked 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., about a memo that says his campaign needs to raise support or he may drop out of the race.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio drops 2020 bid

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped out of the 2020 presidential race Friday, ending a long shot bid for the Democratic nomination that never went anywhere.

“I feel like I have contributed all I can to this primary election, and it’s clearly not my time, so I’m going to end my presidential campaign,” de Blasio said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“We have a chance to get it right in 2020,” de Blasio added. “Whoever our nominee is, let’s make sure we’re talking to the hearts of working people.”

De Blasio said he would not be endorsing any of his fellow candidates “today” but that he would “think about” doing so in the future. He added that he would “of course” support “whoever the eventual nominee is.”

In a piece for NBC News’ THINK, de Blasio explained that he would continue “fighting for working people and ensuring that New York City remains the vanguard of progressivism will continue to be my missions.”

President Donald Trump — a frequent critic of de Blasio — immediately chimed in, jeering in a post on Twitter that the exit from the race by the “Part time Mayor” was “big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years” and that “NYC is devastated” that “he’s coming home.”

De Blasio’s bid — launched in May — ultimately lasted just over four months and was largely mocked for most of its short life.

He was widely unpopular in New York City, with an April Quinnipiac Poll showing that more than three-quarters of New Yorkers felt he shouldn’t run, and faced a stiff upward climb in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

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De Blasio had attempted to run on a record of progressive accomplishments, including enacting universal pre-kindergarten and helping to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

But his campaign never took off. A slew of national polls showed him stuck with just 1 percent support — and often times even less. A Siena College poll released earlier this week showed him with 0 percent, even in New York City.

De Blasio failed to qualify for the Democratic debate earlier this month and was all but certain to fail to qualify for the one scheduled for October.

His brief campaign was marred with sparsely attended events and a bevy of unforced errors.

He made headlines in August after an event in Iowa drew only about 15 people.

De Blasio attempted to use Twitter to brand Trump as “ConDon,” but that, too, drew mockery because it means condom in Spanish.

And he continued earning the scorn of his fellow New Yorkers for being on the campaign trail during crises in New York City, including a widespread power outage in July.

Even his entrance into the race in May was bogged down with challenges: A Missouri teenager stole the spotlight from his campaign when he scooped the New York City mayor’s announcement.

In dropping out, de Blasio joins a growing list of candidates who ended their runs early — and on their own terms.

Last month, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced she was ending her presidential bid. Earlier, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and California Rep. Eric Swalwell all also left the Democratic race. There are still 17 people running in the Democratic field.



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