Presidential contender Jeb Bush weighed in on the latest Donald Trump controversy on Monday, telling reporters that the real estate mogul turned Republican candidate should apologize for questioning Sen. John McCain’s military service.
“He should just apologize,” Bush said on Monday, becoming the latest Republican to condemn the leading Trump for his disparaging remarks on the Arizona senator who was tortured while a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.
Speaking from Iowa this weekend, Trump said McCain is ”not a war hero, he’s a war hero because he was captured, I like people that weren’t captured.” He then added, “He’s a war hero because he was captured, OK, I believe — perhaps he’s a war hero.”
On Monday, McCain and Trump went head to head in dueling interviews on Monday morning, days after Trump questioned McCain’s military service at a Republican cattle call event this weekend.
Trump “owes an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who have undergone a prison experience in serving their country,” the Arizona Republican and former presidential nominee said in an exclusive interview with “Morning Joe.” “The great honor of my life was to serve in the company of heroes, I’m not a hero.”
“It’s just totally inappropriate for Mr. Trump to say that he doesn’t like to be with people who were captured,” McCain said.
In a phone interview on “TODAY,” Trump argued that he’s being misquoted: “the next sentence was, “he is a war hero.” I said that, but they want they never want to play it and you don’t want to play it,” the real estate mogul turned presidential candidate said.
McCain declined to elaborate on the six years he spent in captivity where he was tortured, but said Trump’s remarks was disrespectful of their service.
“There’s so many men and some women who served and sacrificed and happened to be held prisoner,” McCain said. “To denigrate their service, somehow, is offensive to most of our veterans.”
Asked whether he regretted calling Trump’s supporters “crazies” — the remark that Trump was responding to when he criticized his military service — McCain said only that he was routinely called that by his constituents.
“I thought it was a term of endearment,” he said. “I love the debate and I love the people and so I meant it in that way, a term of affection.”
On the other side of the aisle, however, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was less restrained in criticizing Trump for his remarks. “I think it’s worth noting that Donald Trump calling John McCain anything other than a hero is just Donald Trump being a blowhard,” Warren told NBC affiliate WHDH in Boston.
The senator praised Republican presidential candidates like Bush for condemning Trump’s remarks on McCain — but she pointed out that reactions were not nearly as swift after Trump called Mexicans criminals and rapists in his presidential announcement speech.
“I noticed that the other Republican presidential candidates immediately jumped on him for [what he said about McCain] and good for them, but where were they when Donald Trump shot off his mouth about Mexican Americans?” Warren asked. “Where was he then? The answer was they hid in the shadows.”