Donald Trump famously did not serve in the military, but in an upcoming book, he says his experience in military school made it so he "always felt like [he] was in the military." The Republican presidential candidate said he had "dealt with those people" in school.
The quotes come from book excerpts and portions of interviews published in the New York Times from the upcoming biography of Trump titled "Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success," written by Mike D'Antonio. Trump attended New York Military Academy, sent by his parents to correct behavioral issues, which he said allowed him "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military," according to the Times.
Trump made waves early in his presidential run when he addressed the service of Sen. John McCain, a decorated Vietnam veteran who spent five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down. "He's a war hero because he was captured? I like people who weren’t captured," Trump said of McCain in July.
Trump just now on John McCain: "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
— Karen Travers (@karentravers) July 18, 2015
Trump said his five years at the military school shaped him and made him tougher. “After the Vietnam War, all those military academies lost ground because people really disrespected the military," Trump said, according to the excerpted quotes. "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."
Due to multiple draft deferments and very high draft lottery number, Trump never served in the Vietnam War, which he called a "mistake" in the upcoming book. At one point Trump reportedly took off a shoe to show D'Antonio the heel spurs that allowed his medical deferments. Trump added that his high lottery number, 356 out of 366, was fortunate.
“My number was so incredible, and it was a very high draft number," he said, according to the excerpts in 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.”
The book, scheduled to be released Sept. 22, reportedly details how Trump's attitude and drive to win at everything have been largely unchanged since he was a child. Trump spoke with the author for about six hours in total before cutting off access, D'Antonio said, when he learned the writer had spoken with a longtime enemy of the candidate, according to the Times.