Pete Buttigieg has been rising in the polls, which means that he’s becoming the target of President Trump’s Twitter barbs — the president refers to Buttigieg as “Alfred E. Neuman.”
But Buttigieg has mostly stayed away from going after the president, though he’s taken a few shots at Vice President Mike Pence. That took a sharp turn on Thursday during a Washington Post Live interview in which the presidential candidate criticized President Donald Trump’s military dodge.
Post reporter Bob Costa asked if Trump should have served in Vietnam, to which Buttigieg responded, “I have a pretty dim view of his decision to use his privileged status to fake a disability in order to avoid serving in Vietnam.”
When asked if he believes that Trump “faked a disability,” Buttigieg responded, “Do you believe he has a disability?” before adding, “Yeah, at least not that one.” He followed up by saying, “I don’t mean to trivialize disability, but I think that’s exactly what he did.”
Here’s that clip:
.@costareports asks if President Trump should have served in Vietnam.@PeteButtigieg: "I have a pretty dim view of his decision to use his privileged status to fake a disability in order to avoid serving in Vietnam."
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 23, 2019
At another point in the discussion, Buttigieg said, “If he were a conscientious objector, I’d admire that. 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.”
Earlier in the program, Buttigieg was a bit more subtle, bringing up his own military service, saying, “I don’t have a problem standing up to somebody who was working on season seven of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ when I was packing my bags for Afghanistan.”
President Trump famously claimed to have bone spurs in his heels so that he could avoid military service in Vietnam. The New York Times has reported that two women in Queens say that their father, a podiatrist, wrote the exemption note as a favor to Fred Trump.