Two days removed from Donald Trump‘s “I like people who weren’t captured” comments regarding John McCain, the Senator from Arizona finally broke his silence on Monday’s edition of Morning Joe — stating that he did not believe Trump owed him an apology, but owed one to all servicemen and women who have been captured.
“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,” responded McCain when asked about Trump’s comments. “When Mr. Trump said 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 inspired us to do things we otherwise wouldn’t have been capable of doing — those are the people that I think he owes an apology to.”
McCain stopped short of calling for Trump to drop out of presidential race, but predicted that the 2016 hopeful’s success in the polls would soon wane.
The controversial remarks by Trump have raised questions about the GOP’s 2004 swiftboating of then-Democratic nominee John Kerry and the seeming hypocrisy surrounding those political attacks. Joe Scarborough, co-host Morning Joe, asked the Senator whether he thought the military records of war heroes should be kept “off the political tables.”
“I think so, Joe, and by the way, I did strongly condemn those ads,” replied McCain, referring to the 2004 attack ads on Kerry.
“John Kerry and I have had differences over the years,” he continued. “We have worked together on some issues, like the normalization of relations with Vietnam. But I think the point here is that there’s so many men and some women who served and sacrificed, and happen to be held prisoner — and somehow to denigrate that in any way — their service — I think, is offensive.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper raised the same question with Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) on Sunday’s edition of State of the Union, asking the Congressman: “Is there a double standard here? Are Republicans saying, ‘There’s no place in our party to disparage those who have served honorably,’ unless you’re a Democrat?”
“You don’t criticize anybody’s service,” replied Hurd. “You know, somebody that’s willing to go overseas, put their lives in harm’s way in order for all of us to sleep well at night, you don’t disparage that. I don’t care what party you’re in.”
Despite the almost universal condemnation of his comments, even within his own party, Trump has said he will not apologize for his remarks, and has seemingly doubled down on them — blaming McCain for the VA scandal and making “America less safe” in a USA Today op-ed piece.
Watch interview, courtesy of MSNBC.