In an interview with Piers Morgan that aired Wednesday in the U.K., Trump said he was “never a fan” of the war in Vietnam when asked if he wished he could have served.
The former reality TV star claimed at the time to have bone spurs that prevented him from being drafted. Democratic presidential candidates, including Marine veteran Represenative Seth Moulton, have questioned the legitimacy of the diagnosis.
In his comments, Trump said he did not agree with US involvement in the war.
‘‘Well, I was never a fan of that war I'll be honest with you. I thought it was a terrible war,’’ Trump said in the interview. ‘‘I thought it was very far away.’’
“At that time, nobody ever heard of the country,” Trump said of Vietnam. “So I was never a fan, this isn’t like I’m fighting against Nazi Germany . . . and I was like a lot of people.”
Trump was then asked whether serving in the military generally was something he would have liked. Trump said he would not have minded at all and would have been “honored.”
‘‘I think I'm making up for it rapidly’’ Trump told Morgan, because of increased defense spending under his presidency.
Trump also appeared to invent a new reason for his transgender troop ban after a question about how he could claim to support LGBTQ rights when he expelled transgender troops from serving in the military.
Trump said the drugs taken by transgender individuals ran afoul of military regulations, a claim multiple experts told the Washington Post was false.
“Many members of the military use prescription medication, and it is made available to them worldwide. Hormone therapy, in particular, is prescribed, including to manage the gynecological needs of non-transgender service members,” Jane Schacter, a Stanford University law professor, told the Post’s Aaron Blake.
Trump also argued the medical costs were too high, which was the stated justification for the ban, a point challenged by Morgan.
“The US military spends a lot more money for example on giving Viagra to service men than it does actual medical bills for transgender people,” Morgan countered, appearing to reference a 2017 Military Times report that found spending on such erectile dysfunction drugs was 10 times higher than spending on medical treatment for transgender individuals.
“Well, it is what it is,” Trump said after admitting he did not know about the Viagra statistic.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.