It’s been unclear for 50 years who drafted the “very strong letter” confirming that President Trump had bone spurs in his heels, allowing him to skirt military service in Vietnam.
“You are talking a lot of years,” Trump told The New York Times in 2016, unable to recall the doctor’s name.
The answer could be Larry Braunstein, a now-deceased podiatrist in Queens, New York, who rented his office from Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump. The New York Times visited the doctor’s daughters, who suggested that the diagnosis could have been granted as a favor.
Elysa Braunstein and Sharon Kessel told the Times that their father, who died in 2007, often shared the story of helping the younger Trump during the Vietnam War.
“I know it was a favor,” Elysa Braunstein said, recalling that her father made it sound as if President Trump did not have an injury that should’ve exempted him from serving. “But did he examine him? I don’t know.”
There is no paper evidence backing up the family’s claims, according to The Times. The Braunstein family also implied another foot doctor, Manny Weinstein, may have been involved in the spur scheme. Weinstein, who died in 1995, lived in two apartments owned by Fred Trump. According to city directories, he moved into the first the year President Trump’s exemption was signed off on.
Braunstein’s daughters said their father didn’t leave any medical records with them, and the doctor who took over his practice told The Times that he has no knowledge of the situation.
Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher