Donald J. Trump, who received draft deferments through much of the Vietnam War, told the author of a forthcoming biography that he nevertheless “always felt that I was in the military” because of his education at a military-themed boarding school.
Mr. Trump said that his experience at the New York Military Academy, an expensive prep school where his parents had sent him to correct poor behavior, gave him “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”
That claim may raise eyebrows given that Mr. Trump, now a Republican presidential candidate, never served in the military and mocked Senator John McCain, a decorated naval aviator, for his yearslong captivity during the Vietnam War.
“He’s not a war hero,” Mr. Trump said in July. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
Mr. Trump described his education, business life, marriages and childhood in extensive interviews with Michael D’Antonio, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter at Newsday. Mr. D’Antonio’s biography of Mr. Trump, “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success,” will be published on Sept. 22.
In the book, Mr. Trump emerges as a man largely unchanged from his childhood in the wealthy Queens neighborhood of Jamaica Estates, where an exacting father, Fred Trump, schooled him in the ways of self-promotion and encouraged a lifetime of fighting. The senior Mr. Trump, a major real estate developer, counseled his son to “be a killer” and told him, “You are a king.”
Mr. Trump memorably told Mr. D’Antonio that “when I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same. The temperament is not that different.”
Mr. Trump’s preoccupation with winning — at anything and everything, big or small — dominated his youth. His mentor at the New York Military Academy, Theodore Dobias, called Mr. Trump “a conniver, even then.”
When Mr. Trump’s high school classmates showed up for a Columbus Day parade in New York City, expecting to lead the procession, they were dismayed to find a group of Catholic girls arranged ahead of them. Mr. Trump announced that he would take care of the problem. When he returned a few minutes later, having negotiated a Trump-like deal, the cadets were put at the front of the parade, ahead of the girls, Mr. Dobias recalled.
SOURCE: MICHAEL BARBARO
The New York Times