Vietnam absentee Donald Trump's military look raises eyebrows

David Smith in Washington

He has been attempting to sound more presidential. Now he wants to look like a commander-in-chief, too.

Donald Trump donned a green bomber jacket and even dumped his “Make America great again” baseball cap in favour of a naval one when he spoke on a new aircraft carrier in Virginia on Thursday.

But not everyone was impressed by the Top Gun navy flight jacket fashion statement – from a man who, while surrounding himself with military officers in government, received in his youth five deferments from the Vietnam war draft: four for university and one for “heel spurs”.

After touring the USS Gerald R Ford, an aircraft carrier weighing 100,000 tons and billed as the most powerful warship ever known, Trump, with the jacket over his shirt and tie, told crew members: “You know what, they just gave me this beautiful jacket. They said, ‘Here Mr President, please take this home.’

“I said, ‘Let me wear it,’ and then they gave me the beautiful hat and I said, ‘You know, maybe I’ll do that’. We have a great ‘Make America great again’ hat but I said, ‘This is a special day, we’re wearing this, right?’”

The blue hat said “USS Gerald R Ford” and on the front, with a picture, and “POTUS” and “45” on the back. Trump, who gave his customary thumbs up, added: “I have no idea how it looks, but I think it looks good. It’s a great-looking hat, just like this is a great-looking ship.”

But like George W Bush and Barack Obama before him, Trump’s dalliance with military apparel elicited some sarcastic responses. Author and broadcaster Joy Reid tweeted: “Trump – who got five deferments from Vietnam – is currently cosplaying as a military man, complete with hat and jacket.”

Ahmed Tawakal‏, based in Nairobi, Kenya, tweeted: “The only jacket Trump should be wearing is a straight jacket.”

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