John McCain says Donald Trump should apologize to U.S. military families

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Published: July 20, 2015 9:58:35 PM

Senator John McCain urged Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday to apologize to U.S. military families for saying prisoners of war are not heroes in his first direct response to remarks by Trump.

Senator John McCain urged Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday to apologize to U.S. military families for saying prisoners of war are not heroes in his first direct response to remarks by Trump.

Trump drew a barrage of criticism over the weekend after telling a Republican forum he did not think McCain, a Navy fighter pilot who was held prisoner for five years during the Vietnam War, was a hero because he was captured.

McCain played down the personal attack in an interview with MSNBC, saying he didn’t think Donald Trump owed him an apology, but said he owed one to the wider target of his remarks.

“I think he may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who have undergone the prison experience in serving our country,” McCain said.

The longtime Arizona senator and former presidential candidate, who himself has been called fiery and combative, struck a tone of restraint and humility in his reply.

“The great honor of my life was to serve in the company of heroes,” McCain said on MSNBC. “I’m not a hero.”

Trump was addressing a gathering of religious conservatives in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday, when the moderator referred to McCain as a war hero.

“He’s not a war hero,” Donald Trump retorted. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

The real estate mogul and television personality has refused to apologize for the remarks, despite a chorus of criticism from his own party, including calls from the other candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination for him to drop out of the race.

Donald Trump also continued to criticize McCain for not doing enough to support fellow veterans.

McCain told MSNBC he has fielded a “flood of calls” from military veterans about Trump’s remarks and “they are not happy.”

“I think the point here is that there’s so many men and some women who served and sacrificed and happened to be held prisoner,” McCain said in the interview. “Somehow to denigrate that in any way is offensive, I think, to most of our veterans.”

“It’s just totally inappropriate for Mr. Trump to say that he doesn’t like to be with people who are captured.”

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