Politics

That One Time Al Franken Said He Doesn’t ‘Buy’ McCain Was A ‘War Hero’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Former Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota once questioned Sen. John McCain of Arizona’s status as a war hero in a 2000 interview, arguing that one cannot be a war hero if captured.

“I doubt I could cross the line and vote Republican. I have tremendous respect for McCain but I don’t buy the war-hero thing. Anybody can be captured. I thought the idea was to capture them. As far as I’m concerned, he sat out the war,” Franken told Salon.com in a 2000 interview.

McCain was captured by a group of North Vietnamese in 1967. He spent the next five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, where he was tortured, beaten to the point of losing consciousness and kept in solitary confinement for over three years. (RELATED: McCain May Have Killed Republicans’ Last Chance To Repeal Obamacare)

President Donald Trump made a similar comment in 2015, calling out the fact that McCain was captured as a reason why he should not be considered a war hero.

“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said in 2015.

McCain has appeared in the news recently for other reasons, like his denouncement of Trump’s pick to become the new CIA director, Gina Haspel, and an off-color comment from a Trump aide regarding McCain’s health. (RELATED: Report: White House Official Tried To Apologize For Mocking ‘Dying’ John McCain)

White House aide Kelly Sadler came under fire earlier in May for her comment that McCain was “dying anyway,” after McCain came out against Haspel.

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