Trump Says Training At His Prep School Was Better Than What Military Members Get

Donald Trump, like so many other Republican politicians, did a great job of avoiding military service during Vietnam. A few months ago he insulted a Republican who did serve, John McCain, by saying that McCain wasn’t a hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese. Now, Trump is talking up his credentials as a military man. What credentials, you ask? That would be his time in military prep school.

A story in the September 8 New York Times highlights some Trump quotes from a new biography by Michael D’Antonio, which will be released on September 22. Trump says in the book that he felt like he was in the military because of the time he spent at the New York Military Academy as a teen. He is sure to raise eyebrows among veterans when he says that he thought he received “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”

Trump’s remark apparently provoked skepticism from his biographer. D’Antonio wrote that not many of the school’s alumni would compare what they did there to actual military service. But he sees the claim as typical Trump. “[T]he assertion was consistent with the self-image Trump often expressed,” he says.

There’s no denying that military schools provide a lot more rigorous discipline than public high schools do. Many of them employ former military members as instructors. But for Trump to claim that he received more military training than say, Vietnam-era recruits who went through Marine Corps basic training at Parris Island is more than a bit of a stretch.

Not that all service members are equally dismissive of Trump’s grandstanding. Surprisingly, veterans weren’t united in their condemnation of Trump’s attack on McCain. Some even agreed with Trump that McCain hasn’t done as much for the Veterans’ Administration as he claims. But how will they react now, with Trump saying that his experience at an elite private school gave him better military training than those who served?

Marine Corps veteran Paul Loebe, who is the National Coordinator and Co-founder of Vets For Bernie, a veterans’ group supporting the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, told me:

“Trump’s assertion comparing his schooling to military service is wholly absurd. Even our most basically trained Marines graduating boot camp still have no understanding of what military life is like, and those Marines stand head and shoulders above Trump.

Leadership in the military isn’t just marching in parades or getting good grades. It’s preparing for war, going to war, and working together as a team to bring everyone home alive. That is the crux of military service: teamwork. And it’s a concept Trump clearly has no understanding of. Trump’s leadership gives credit to one person and one person only. Himself. That’s anathema to everything about military service.”

No doubt Trump had to follow a lot of military discipline while at the New York Military Academy. He had to get up early, keep his room clean, obey orders from superiors, etc. But there is at least one major thing he didn’t have to deal with there, which many of those who actually served during that era had to endure: Trump didn’t have to get shot at.

Featured image via RantPolitical