Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly confronted Donald Trump over his comments about John McCain Saturday, in which he said he he was only a war hero because he was “captured.”
During an interview on “The O’Reilly Factor,” the host challenged Trump, telling him that “the way” the comments “came off wasn’t correct,” adding further that he could have made his points about McCain without getting personal over his war record.
“You can backtrack into that,” O’Reilly said regarding Trump’s attempt to clean up the comments,”but the fact of the matter is, we just played the clip where you said he was captured and I like people who aren’t captured.”
“Now, you know that that wasn’t correct. He was on a bombing mission. He was shot down. He was tortured. He could have been released but he said no because he wanted to stay with captured comrades. Come on, Donald!” O’Reilly told Trump. “You know that the way that came off wasn’t correct.”
Trump went on to attack the media for its portrayal of the comments, which O’Reilly said may have been unfair
“All right, maybe that was unfair,” O’Reilly said about the media coverage. “But you yourself — and I know you for a long time, and I want you to be honest. You do think John McCain is a hero. I know you do,” O’Reilly said. “There is no debate about John McCain’s heroism. He is an American hero.”
The pair went on to battle over Trump’s attacks on the Arizona senator over his dealings with veterans, with the FNC host telling the real estate mogul that he “picked the wrong guy” to go after on the issue.
“You’re right. The government doesn’t give the priority it should to the wounded vets. You’re right. But McCain has done some good work,” O’Reilly told Trump, pointing out various pieces of legislation McCain has backed to benefit veterans. “You picked the wrong guy here I think. McCain shouldn’t be the whipping boy.”
“Bill, regardless of work or no work, they’re suffering. I’m all over the country. I see them all the time,” Trump said. “He’s virtually the head person in Washington. He’s the head of the group that runs — I mean, he’s — somebody’s doing a bad job. It’s corruption. It’s massive corruption. It’s massive incompetence. And the people are really being treated like third-class citizens.”
“I think the VA’s a disgrace, generally speaking,” O’Reilly said, adding that the Obama and Bush 43 administrations didn’t do enough for veterans. “I don’t think McCain’s the villain here.”
The host gave Trump the last word of the segment to address McCain directly, in which Trump gave the closest thing he has to an apology to the 2008 GOP nominee (or anyone for that matter).
“Well, I’m going to say this: I have respect for Sen. McCain. I used to like him a lot. I supported him. I raised a lot of money for his campaign against President Obama. And certainly, if there was a misunderstanding, I would totally take that back,” Trump said. “Hopefully, I said it correctly. And certainly, shortly thereafter, I said it correctly, I would like him, however, to do something with the 15,000 people that were in Phoenix about illegal immigration. They are being decimated, and I would love to see him do a much better job of taking care of the veterans.”