AMES, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is again criticizing a respected member of his party.
At a conference of religious conservatives today in Iowa, Trump was pressed on his recent description of Arizona Sen. John McCain as “a dummy.” When the moderator described McCain as “a war hero,” Trump said McCain “is a war hero because he was captured. Trump added, “I like people who weren’t captured.”
McCain spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down in Vietnam.
During a news conference after his appearance, Trump did not apologize but tried to clarify his remarks: “If a person is captured, they’re a hero as far as I’m concerned. I don’t like the job John McCain is doing in the Senate because he is not taking care of our veterans.”
Trump said he avoided service in the Vietnam War through student deferments and a medical deferment, then said he didn’t serve because “I was not a big fan of the Vietnam war.” He added he wasn’t a protester.
Other 2016 hopefuls were quick to attack Trump’s comments. In a statement, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the remarks make Trump “unfit to be commander-in-chief.” On Twitter, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said: “After Donald Trump spends six years in a POW camp, he can weigh in on John McCain’s service.”
After Donald Trump spends six years in a POW camp, he can weigh in on John McCain's service
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 18, 2015
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wrote on Twitter: “Enough with the slanderous attacks. @SenJohnMcCain and all our veterans — particularly POWs have earned our respect and admiration.”
Enough with the slanderous attacks. @SenJohnMcCain and all our veterans – particularly POWs have earned our respect and admiration.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) July 18, 2015