Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump says in a new book that even though he wasn’t ever technically “in” the military, he feels like he was, because his parents sent him to a very expensive military boarding school when he was a teen shithead with out-of-control behavior problems. That’s sort of like insisting that you’re a detective because you watched several seasons of CSI that time you had mono.

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Much to the chagrin of anyone who doesn’t think America should be governed by a human catch phrase, this bloviating cartoon billionaire carries immense appeal with a certain type of economically and intellectually stagnant low-information voter. When it comes to military cred, however, it’s hard for his supporters to argue that Trump isn’t operating at a PR deficit; he received several draft deferments during the Vietnam War, due to his “incredible” draft lottery number and some foot spurs that read as, uh, spurious. He’s also mocked Senator John McCain’s time as a POW.

Trump, it seems, doesn’t see his lack of a real military record as a handicap. He’s practically an honorary vet, at least according to the Michael D’Antonio’s forthcoming “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success.” From the New York Times:

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“My number was so incredible and it was a very high draft number. 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,” [Trump] told Mr. D’Antonio.

The author seemed taken aback by this claim. Not many of the academy’s alumni “would compare military school with actual military service,” he wrote. “But the assertion was consistent with the self-image Trump often expressed.”

During an interview for the book, Mr. Trump removed a shoe to show the author the cause of his medical deferment. “Heel spurs,” he said. “On both feet.”

As for the Vietnam conflict, he called the war “a mistake.”

Mr. Trump relished his five years at the military academy and bemoaned the dwindling enrollment at such schools.

“After the Vietnam War, all those military academies lost ground because people really disrespected the military,” Mr. Trump said. “They weren’t sending their kids to military school. It was a whole different thing, but in those days — 1964 I graduated — that was a very good thing or tough thing, and it was a real way of life at military academy.”

Trump was originally sent to his military high school due to his ongoing behavioral issues.

The Donald is a self-aggrandizing sound byte machine, like a rapper whose entire life is a freestyle verse that doesn’t rhyme and never gets to the hook, but if he’s a serious candidate, his military and foreign policy chops deserve serious scrutiny. Last week, during a bungled interview that should have been disastrous to his poll numbers (but wasn’t), Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he’d be “so good at the military your head will spin.” This happened immediately after he failed to name several key military actors in the Middle East.


Contact the author at erin@jezebel.com.

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