Arizona Sen. John McCain responded to Donald Trump’s Saturday comments about his military service Monday, telling “Morning Joe” that Trump should apologize to veterans and prisoners-of-war for his remarks.
In the exclusive interview, McCain said that Trump should apologize not to him, but to those “who have sacrificed in conflict” and have “undergone the prison experience.” He also called the comments “totally inappropriate.”
Trump told pollster Frank Luntz initially on Saturday that McCain was “not a war hero,” adding that is considered one “because he was captured,”
“I like people who weren’t captured, I hate to tell you,” Trump said, before backtracking and calling the 2008 GOP presidential nominee a war hero.
“Does Donald Trump owe you an apology?” co-host Mika Brzezinski asked McCain.
“No, I don’t think so,” McCain told Brzezinski. “But 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.”
“I’m in the arena, as [Teddy Roosevelt] used to say, but 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,” McCain said. “I’m not a hero. But those who were my senior ranking officers, people like Col. Bud Day, Congressional Medal of Honor winner, and those that inspired us to do things we otherwise would not have been capable of doing, those are the people that I think he owes an apology to.”
“I think the point here is that 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,” McCain said, before sharing the story of a 92-year-old who was a P.O.W. during World War II.
“Those are the people, frankly, that I find it just totally inappropriate for Mr. Trump to say that he doesn’t like to be with people who are captured,” McCain said.
The Arizona senator also responded to Trump after he called a crowd of 15,000 who attended a Trump rally in Phoenix last Saturday “crazies.”
“You know my state is a very dynamic and divisive state, and we’ve got lots of arguments and lots of debates going on. I have hundreds of town hall meetings all over Arizona, and I’m called crazy by the people that come there. I thought it was a term of endearment,” McCain said chuckling. “I meant it in a way — in a term of affection, to be honest with you.”