Donald Trump Bone Spurs Diagnosis Was Favor From Doctor to Fred Trump, Says Podiatrist's Daughter

President Donald Trump may have been able to avoid military service in Vietnam because a podiatrist in Queens, New York, did a "favor" for his father and diagnosed 22-year-old Trump with bone spurs in his heels.

The podiatrist, Larry Braunstein, died in 2007, but his daughters recently told The New York Times that their father frequently recalled coming to the aid of the Trump family during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s.

"I know it was a favor," said Elysa Braunstein, along with her sister, Sharon Kessel, in a report published on Wednesday. The two said that their father's account implied that Trump did not have the foot ailment that kept him out of the war.

"But did he examine him? I don't know," Elysa Braunstein added. Two years before he was diagnosed with bone spurs, Trump had been deemed eligible for conscription by the Selective Service System.

Larry Braunstein ran his practice for decades out of a building in Jamaica, Queens, that was owned and operated by the president's father, Fred Trump. The Trump family sold the building that housed Braunstein's practice in 2004.

"What he got was access to Fred Trump," Elysa Braunstein told The Times. "If there was anything wrong in the building, my dad would call and Trump would take care of it immediately. That was the small favor that he got."

The Times did not find any paper evidence to corroborate the account of Larry Braunstein's daughters.

The daughters also mentioned another doctor, Manny Weinstein, who they say was involved in Trump's bone spur diagnosis. Weinstein died in 1995, but records show he lived in two apartments owned by Fred Trump and moved into the first in 1968, the same year Trump received his diagnosis and became exempt from serving in the war.

donald trump calls troops on christmas day
President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters following a video call to service members from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard stationed around the world, in the Oval Office, December 25. In a new report by the New York Times, the daughters of podiatrist Larry Braunstein said their father diagnosed Trump with bone spurs so that he could avoid serving in the Vietnam War as a favor to the president's father, Fred Trump. Zach Gibson/Pool/Getty Images

The bone spurs diagnosis afforded Trump a one-year medical deferment. He also had four educational deferments that helped him avoid military service.

When asked about the ailment that kept him out of Vietnam, Trump has said that he did not remember the doctor who diagnosed the bone spurs and never mentioned any potential link between the doctor and his father.

Years after avoiding the draft, the president joked that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was as difficult as serving in Vietnam, during a 1998 interview with Howard Stern. In the exchange Trump said that he was going to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for his ability to stay alive while "screwing a lot of women."

"It's Vietnam," Trump told Stern. "It is very dangerous. So I'm very, very careful."

Trump also drew fire for his attacks against the late Senator John McCain, who was held prisoner for more than five years during the Vietnam War. During his presidential campaign, Trump said that McCain was not a "hero" because he was captured.

"He is not a war hero," Trump said. "He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured."

McCain was a prisoner at the Hỏa Lò Prison in Hanoi, Vietnam. The decorated veteran was offered early release from the camp because his father was a high-ranking official in the U.S. Navy, but McCain repeatedly declined the offer, because he did not want to leave his fellow prisoners behind.

Trump has drawn continued criticism for his handling of issues surrounding the military. Earlier this year, the president was mocked for skipping a visit to a cemetery for fallen American soldiers in France, citing the rain. Trump was also slammed for being the first U.S. president in 15 years not to visit troops during the Christmas holiday.

Speaking via video conference to U.S. troops at home and abroad on Christmas Day, Trump said, "I want you to know that every American family is eternally grateful to you."