Buttigieg: Trump faked being disabled to get out of Vietnam

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule Ocasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field MORE on Thursday hammered President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE for saying he had bone spurs to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, accusing him of faking the disability.

“Well, 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,” Buttigieg, an Afghanistan War veteran, said during a livestreamed interview with The Washington Post. 

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“Yeah, at least not that one,” he doubled down when asked if he thought the condition was faked. “This is actually really important because I don’t mean to trivialize disability, but I think that’s exactly what he did.”

The South Bend, Ind., mayor has shot to national prominence in recent months following a media blitz that has included various interviews with national outlets as well as more niche publications.

Buttigieg, who is competing against more than 20 other Democrats for the party's presidential nomination, has also gone after Vice President Pence, suggesting he held homophobic views and hitting his tenure as Indiana governor, claims the vice president has rejected.

While still polling well behind front-runners such as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (I-Vt.), Buttigieg has risen in national and statewide polling and has raked in millions of dollars in campaign donations.

Democrats have criticized Trump over his claims of bone spurs to avoid the Vietnam War draft since he began campaigning for president in 2015.

Trump defended his medical claim in 2016, telling The New York Times a doctor "gave me a letter — a very strong letter on the heels" to give to draft officials.

Reports later emerged that a New York podiatrist may have given Trump the diagnosis as a favor to Trump's father.