President Trump on Wednesday defended himself against his failure to serve in Vietnam by suggesting that he was quickly making up for it through his proposed defense budget, according to the Hill,
The president, speaking interview with Piers Morgan, also said he was “never a fan” of Vietnam, but that he would not have minded serving the country in that war.
The statements came days before Trump’s Thursday meeting with European dignitaries on Normandy to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a key moment of the WWII.
"I would’ve been honored. But I think I make up for it right now ... and I think I’m making up for it rapidly because we’re rebuilding our military at a level that it’s never seen before," he said.
Trump’s proposed military budget will reach $750 billion in 2020, according to the Washington Post.
A number of academics and members of Congress criticized the statements, saying Trump dodged the draft thanks to his wealth. The president avoided service in Vietnam through four student deferments and one medical disqualification, according to the Post.
“It’s not like there was just some empty seat in Vietnam. Someone had to go in his place,” Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton said.