McCain was responding to Trump’s suggestion at a Saturday gathering of social conservatives in Iowa that the 2008 GOP presidential nominee and former prisoner of war is “not a war hero”.
“I can assure you, if you talk to our veterans – and I’ve had a flood of calls from our veterans – they are not happy”, McCain said. He adds that there are “so many men and women who served and sacrificed – and happened to be held prisoner”.
Mr Trump ratcheted up his attack in an op-ed piece published on Monday in USA Today, in which he wrote that Sen McCain’s voting record has made America “less safe”.
Another topic many veterans at the convention are discussing is Donald Trump’s recent comments about Arizona Sen.
Jeb Bush broke from his prepared remarks of a policy speech Monday to declare that McCain is a “real hero“, as Donald Trump insists that he owes no apology to McCain for questioning the Arizona senator’s military heroism.
Trump: “He’s a war hero, because he was captured, okay?”
Trump called the Department of Veterans Affairs a “scandalous, corrupt organization” and said the media “has done a false number, as usual”, reported The Washington Times.
“When Mr. Trump said that he prefers to be with people today who are not captured. I say he and everybody like him is an American hero”, Graham said.
He later softened his comments however, telling a subsequent news conference that “if a person is captured, they are a hero as far as I’m concerned”.
McCain was captured by the North Vietnamese and spent five years as a POW. “I used to like him a lot”, he said.
Republican strategist Frank Luntz believes that we might be seeing the beginning of a third party candidate in Donald Trump.
The exchange sparked one of the biggest firestorms of the campaign, with most Republican candidates and party leaders seizing on a new opportunity to chastise Trump. “I do not need to be lectured by any of them“.
“Those are the people that I think he owes an apology to”, McCain said regarding Trump’s controversial remarks. “I think that’s a pretty inflammatory statement for somebody who is trying to be the commander-in-chief of the United States military”.