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Dan Gilmore / Jul. 20, 2015

Trump on McCain: A Barb Too Far

At the 2015 Family Leadership Summit Friday, reality TV star and billionaire extraordinaire Donald Trump continued to attempt to rend the Republican Party by launching an attack against Sen. John McCain. “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured,” Trump bloviated. “I like people that weren’t captured.” Trump is standing behind his comments, despite nearly the whole GOP field criticizing him for them. On Sunday, Trump doubled down, tweeting, “The Veterans Administration is in shambles and our veterans are suffering greatly. John McCain has done nothing to help them but talk.” Two different issues. McCain endured an ordeal that would break weaker men like Trump. What he did or did not do afterwards does not strip McCain from the title of “hero.”

Besides, while McCain was asking for more missions in Vietnam, Trump was weaseling out of the draft. While McCain was experiencing debilitating torture as a prisoner of war, Trump caroused as a Manhattan playboy. When McCain returned, broken from the war, Trump was being hit with a Fair Housing Act discrimination suit.

McCain responded brilliantly: “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. … In the case of many of our veterans, when Mr. Trump said that he prefers to be with people who are not captured, well, the great honor of my life was to serve in the company of heroes. I’m not a hero. But those who were my senior ranking officers … those that have inspired us to do things that we otherwise wouldn’t have been capable of doing, those are the people that I think he owes an apology to.”

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