Donald Trump on John McCain: "I Like People Who Weren't Captured"
Trump spoke at the annual Family Leadership Summit on Saturday.
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is again criticizing a well-respected member of his own party.
Speaking at the annual Family Leadership Summit, a conference of religious conservatives on Saturday, Trump was pressed on his recent description of Arizona Sen. John McCain as "a dummy."
The moderator, Republican pollster Frank Luntz, described McCain, a 2008 GOP nominee, as "a war hero." McCain spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down during combat in Vietnam.
Trump said McCain "is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
Trump is among 10 GOP presidential candidates on the program for the Family Leader Summit in Ames, Iowa.
Numerous politicians and commentators fired back at Trump on social media criticizing his remarks, including Rick Perry who issued a statement about Trump being "unfit" for the Oval Office: "Donald Trump should apologize immediately for attacking Senator McCain and all veterans who have protected and served our country. As a veteran and an American, I respect Sen. McCain because he volunteered to serve his country. I cannot say the same of Mr. Trump. His comments have reached a new low in American politics. His attack on veterans make him unfit to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, and he should immediately withdraw from the race for President.”
Following backlash he received from the public, politicians and commentators, Trump released a statement on Facebook late Saturday morning explaining why he is "not a fan of John McCain," along with a series of tweets.
I am not a fan John McCain because he has done so little for our Veterans and he should know better than anybody what the Veterans need, especially in regards to the VA. He is yet another all talk, no action politician who spends too much time on television and not enough time doing his job and helping the Vets. He is also allowing our military to decrease substantially in size and strength, something which should never be allowed to happen.
Furthermore, he was extremely disrespectful to the thousands upon thousands of people, many of whom happen to be his constituents, that came to listen to me speak about illegal immigration in Phoenix last week by calling them "crazies".
These were not "crazies"---these were great American citizens.
I have great respect for all those who serve in our military including those that weren't captured and are also heroes.
I want to strengthen our military and take care of our Veterans. I want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN especially for those that serve to protect our freedom. I am fighting for our Veterans!
In addition to doing a lousy job in taking care of our Vets, John McCain let us down by losing to Barack Obama in his run for President!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2015
Captured or not, all our soldiers are heroes!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2015
The Veterans of our country have been treated like third class citizens for many years...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2015
....John McCain has failed miserably to fix the situation and to make it possible for Veterans to successfully manage their lives.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2015
All he does is go on television is talk, talk, talk, but incapable of doing anything.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2015
I will make this right for our great Vets!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2015
It's a national embarrassment that an illegal immigrant can walk across the border and receive free health care and one of our Veterans.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2015
....that has served our country is put on a waiting list and gets no care.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2015
John McCain is an American hero. I have nothing but respect for his service to our country.— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 18, 2015
After Donald Trump spends six years in a POW camp, he can weigh in on John McCain's service— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 18, 2015
.@SenJohnMcCain is an American hero, period.— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) July 18, 2015
My arguments w/ @SenJohnMcCain are many and public, but always respectful and begun w/ "Sen McCain is a great American..."— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) July 18, 2015
I cannot conceive of any American not honoring his sacrifice and courage, even if he is wrong 50% of the time on bills/issues/arguments— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) July 18, 2015
When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) July 19, 2015
July 18, 11:33 a.m.: Updated with Trump's Facebook statement and tweets.