Donald Trump started some major political commotion on Saturday, Jul. 18 , after questioning whether or not Arizona Senator John McCain is a war hero or not. Mind you, McCain spent over five years as a prisoner during the Vietnam War.
The afternoon, after Trump’s outburst, he tried to backtrack a little by posting to Twitter, saying, “captured or not, all our soldiers are heroes!”
Despite the attempt, Trump can’t go back on the damage he caused (once again). His fellow 2016 presidential candidates are outraged, not to mention how angered the Republican National Committee was by his words.
Trump is handing his fellow candidates votes left and right. Ever since he made some seriously controversial immigration comments, his outbursts have just kept going.
“His comments have reached a new low in American politics,” said former Texas governor and Republican candidate, Rick Perry. “His attack on veterans make him unfit to be commander in chief of the U.S. armed forced, and he should immediately withdraw from the race for president.”
Senior Republican Committee Official, Sean Spicer also spoke out about Trumps comments.
“Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period,” said the committee’s chief strategist. “There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”
The controversy started on Saturday, at Family Leadership Summit question-and-answer session in Ames, Iowa.
“He is not a war hero,” Trump told Frank Luntz, the host of the session.
“He is a war hero,” Luntz defended.
“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump retorted, cutting him off. “I like people that weren’t captured, okay? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. Okay, you can have—I believe perhaps he is a war hero.”
The mini dispute between the two caused mixed emotions in the crowd. Some were shocked, some laughed, booed, and some even applauded Trumps words.
McCain, a Naval aviator during the Vietnam War, was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and fractured both of his arms and legs. He became a war prisoner and was repeatedly tortured during his time in the “Hanoi Hilton”. When the North Vietnamese learned of his father’s position as a Navy admiral, he still refused early release. He returned home in 1973, after the Paris Peace Accords. He currently has limited mobility arms due to the incident from war.
Senator McCain received the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Silver Star, and a Purple Heart for his service.
On the other hand, Trump received multiple deferments during the war. According to service records The Smoking Gun obtained, the 69-year-old presidential candidate received four deferments between 1964 and 1968, and a medical deferment in 1968. The New York Times states that when Trump was asked about his own military involvement, he explained that he received the military deferment because of a spur in his foot, but he could not remember which foot it was.
Looks like Trump has zero right to define what exactly is a war hero.
Trump took to social media to post this long message questioning McCain’s heroism, after the Family Leadership Summit:
“I am not a fan of 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!”
Senator McCain has not released any statements on the subject, but his daughter, Meghan McCain, took to Twitter to express her “disgust” for Trump’s words.
“I can’t believe what I am reading this morning. Horrified. Disgusted. There are no words,” she tweeted. “I have a brother that just returned from Afghanistan a month ago, glad he came home to this being said about his father and his service.”