Did Trump support US efforts in the Vietnam War?

(Tiếng Việt)

Claim: Many Vietnamese Americans believe that Trump is pro-military and anti-communist. Some even believed he was supportive of the Vietnam War against communism.

Rating: This claim is FALSE. Trump has repeatedly made statements disapproving or insulting the US’s role in the Vietnam War.

This claim is false based on Trump’s statements about the Vietnam War. From 1993 to 2019, Trump has spoken on the record about the Vietnam War at least six times. These statements ranged from mocking US efforts in the Vietnam War to insulting veterans who actually served in the War and even going so far as calling a prisoner of war “not a war hero.” 

On US efforts in the Vietnam War, Trump said:

2019: “I was never a fan of that war…I thought it was a terrible war, it was very far away…nobody had ever heard of the country.”

2016: “I was never a fan of the Vietnam War…But I was never at the protest level, either, because I had other things to do.”

When talking about dating and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), Trump has compared it to the Vietnam War multiple times:

2004: “I tell my sons just to get a nice girlfriend and be happy, because it’s dangerous out there (referring to STDs)…It’s Vietnam.”

1997: When asked how he handled making sure he wasn’t contracting STDs from the women he was sleeping with, Trump said, “It’s amazing, I can’t even believe it. I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world, it is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”

1993: “You know, if you’re young, and in this era, and if you have any guilt about not having gone to Vietnam, we have our own Vietnam — it’s called the dating game…Dating is like being in Vietnam. You’re the equivalent of a soldier going over to Vietnam.”

Regarding Vietnam War veteran and prisoner of war Sen. John McCain (R), who spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison, Trump said:

2015: “He’s not a war hero…I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”

It is estimated that over 2,500 American service members were captured by North Vietnam. Additionally, around 200,000 South Vietnamese military personnel and civilians were believed to be captured and imprisoned in North Vietnamese re-education camps.

Conclusion: Trump’s words show that he did not support US efforts in the Vietnam War. Trump has a long history of saying he disapproved of the Vietnam War and insulting the bravery and struggle of those who actually served in the same war. In addition, Trump avoided serving for over a decade through deferments.