John McCain: Donald Trump “Owes an Apology” to Other Veterans for “War Hero” Comments

John McCain; Donald Trump
John McCain responded to Donald Trump's comments about his military service on Monday, July 20   T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images; Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

John McCain responded to Donald Trump's comments about soldiers captured in war, not on his own behalf but on behalf of veterans all over the country. In an interview with MSNBC's Morning Joe on Monday, July 20, the former Republican presidential candidate said that while he didn't take personal offense to Trump's remarks, he does think the real estate mogul should apologize to other servicemen and women.

"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 their country," the Arizona Senator told Joe Scarborough of the controversy, which started after a Trump campaign event on Saturday, July 18. 

As previously reported, the Apprentice host was addressing voters at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, when McCain's name came up. "He's a war hero," someone at the event said, to which Trump responded, "He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured."

McCain doesn't care what Trump thinks of his service to the country — but he does care about the contributions of others.

"The great honor of my life was to serve in the company of heroes," he said on Morning Joe. "I'm not a hero. But those who were my senior ranking officers…those have inspired us to do things that we otherwise wouldn't have been capable of doing. And those are the people I think he owes an apology to."

"There are so many men, and some women, who served and sacrificed and happened to be held prisoner, and somehow to denigrate that in any way, their service, I think is offensive to most of our veterans," he continued, adding later that he thought it was "totally inappropriate for Mr. Trump to say that he doesn't like to be with people who were captured."

Trump, for his part, blamed the media for the controversy, telling Matt Lauer on the Today show Monday that his words were taken out of context. "If you saw what I said, and if you saw the press conference afterwards…the media just has done such a false number," he argued during the tense back-and-forth.

Trump went on to spar with Lauer over the Today show's coverage, insisting that he did, in fact, acknowledge McCain as a war hero. He noted, however, that he does take issue with the politician in other ways. 

"Hey, Matt, Savannah [Guthrie] started it off by saying I said that he wasn't a war hero. I didn't say that. And if you would have let it run just another three seconds, you would have said that I said very clearly he is a war hero. I have absolutely no problem with that," Trump shared of the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, whose campaign he previously supported. "What I do have problems with is that he called 15,000 people that showed up to see me speak in Phoenix, he called them crazies because they want to stop illegal immigration and they were insulted and they were great Americans and he has not taken care of the vets."

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