“Washington, D.C. – Donald Trump wouldn’t apologize Sunday after igniting a political firestorm a day earlier by questioning whether Sen. John McCain – who spent five years as a prisoner during the Vietnam War – is a war hero. Asked by ABC News whether he owes McCain an apology, Trump said: “No, not at all.” “People that fought hard and weren’t captured and went through a lot, they get no credit. Nobody even talks about them. They’re like forgotten. And I think that’s a shame, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said Sunday.
“The controversy began when Trump, speaking at a question-and-answer session at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, commented on McCain, with whom he’s recently feuded over illegal immigration. “He is not a war hero,” Trump told pollster Frank Luntz, who was hosting the session. “He is a war hero,” Luntz interjected. “He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said cutting him off. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have – I believe perhaps he is a war hero.”
Trump then continued: “But, you know what really bothers me about the whole situation? I mean, I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, but compared to what’s going on in the world, and especially in America today, Vietnam was a joke. Today you’ve got suicide bombers, you’ve got terrorists on American soil, you’ve got people coming into our country trying to implode it from within and a number of other devastating events. To my knowledge, that’s way worse than anything that happened in Vietnam.”
“But surely, with all due respect, being tortured in captivity is incomparable to anything you’ve ever been through in your career?” Luntz inquired. “True, and like I said, I give him full credit for that,” Trump responded, and added: “But until you’ve stood up to Mexicans like I have and called them what they really are right here, on the very soil they want to overrun, you don’t have the right to call yourself a hero.”
Trump concluded by saying: “And let me tell you another thing – captivity my ass. When McCain got back home after the war, he could relax knowing he was in his own country again, safe from the Vietcong. On the other hand, I’m calling out Mexicans that are currently in the same country as me, which puts me at significant risk. That takes guts, real guts. So, if and when McCain starts doing that, I’ll pat him on the shoulder and say, ‘Way to go, buddy.’ Until then, he’s a joke just like his military experience.”