Donald Trump, who received five deferments from the Vietnam war draft, has angered military veterans by wearing a flight jacket and an admiral’s cap during a visit aboard an aircraft carrier.
The president sported the olive military jacket and hat during a tour of the new Gerald R. Ford carrier in Newport News, Virginia, as he pledged to boost defence spending.
The jacket and hat, which was personalised with the words “POTUS 45” on the back, were a gift from the crew.
“They said, ‘Here Mr. President, take this home.’ I said, ‘Let me wear it,'” Mr Trump said during his address to the crew, drawing laughter. “And then they gave me the beautiful hat, and I said, ‘You know? Maybe I’ll do that.’ “
He continued, “We have a great ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, but I said, ‘This is a special day, we’re wearing this.’ ”
Wearing a ship’s cap and jacket, Trump delivers remarks aboard USS Gerald Ford: “American workers are the greatest anywhere in the world” pic.twitter.com/zde4W6UN5c
— Tennessee (@TEN_GOP) March 2, 2017
His decision to don the clothing provoked anger on social media, especially among veterans.
“As a Veteran watching a 5 time draft dodging COWARD saluting a Marine guard is the epitome of HYPOCRISY Impeach this cowardly b—— NOW!!!,” tweeted Chuck Williams.
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.”
The only jacket Trump should be wearing is a straight jacket #ImpeachTrump
— Ahmed Tawakal (@atawakal) March 2, 2017
My skin crawls watching this man wear the uniform of my service. This is disgraceful. https://t.co/V9BnXk7y4p
— Cynical Spunkferret (@namtien92) March 2, 2017
— Thomas Almirall (@DRUMR48) March 2, 2017
As a vet, I am appalled to see draft-evading #trump donning a military cap & jacket on a naval aircraft carrier!Insult to navy seal who died
— K bris (@kbris) March 2, 2017
He is not the first commander-in-chief to come under fire criticism for donning military clothing, with Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush also facing flak in the past.
Mr Trump, who received four draft deferments for university and one for “heel spurs”, was taking a tour of the Gerald R. Ford, a $12.9 billion warship that is expected to be commissioned this year after cost overruns and delays.
He pledged to provide “the finest equipment in the world” and give the military the “tools you need to prevent war.”
The president also met with sailors and military leaders, saluted the sailors as he arrived on the carrier.
Mr Trump angered veterans last year when he attacked Senator John McCain, saying: “I like people who weren’t captured.”