Real-estate magnate Donald Trump isn’t backing down amid a firestorm over his remarks panning Sen. John McCain’s (R-Arizona) war record.
Trump drew widespread criticism on Saturday after he said McCain is “not a war hero” before reversing himself on the claim. During the Vietnam War, McCain was shot down and held prisoner for more than five years.
Almost all of Trump’s fellow Republican presidential candidates fiercely criticised Trump for the comment and some veteran political observers said he needs to apologise.
But Trump believes they have it backwards: On “Fox & Friends” Sunday morning, Trump said McCain should apologise to his supporters for calling them “crazies.”
“A week ago, I had thousands of people in Phoenix, Arizona, talking about the whole, horrible situation with illegal immigration,” Trump said. “We had thousands and thousands of people. And he called them ‘crazies.’ He insulted them. He should apologise to them, by the way. He insulted them and then I insulted back.”
Trump had the same message for McCain on ABC’s “This Week.” According to a transcript, he said: “We had thousands of people and he said they’re all crazies. He called them crazies. And frankly, I think he owes them an apology.”
And on Twitter as well:
John McCain called thousands of people “crazies” when they came to seek help on illegal immigration last week in Phoenix. He owes apology!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2015
On both Fox and ABC, Trump repeatedly pivoted from the “war hero” controversy to attack McCain’s allegedly horrible record on veterans issues.
“Frankly, I am very upset with John McCain because he’s done such a terrible job with the veterans,” he said on Fox. “Everybody knows that.”
Unsurprisingly, Trump also said he was not going to exit the race, as rival presidential candidate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) called on him to do following his Saturday questioning of McCain’s war record.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said then while speaking at a forum in Iowa. “He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, ok? I hate to tell you. … I believe, perhaps, he’s a war hero.”
Other candidates also blasted Trump. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) said Trump should stop his “slanderous attacks” against McCain. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) both said Trump had disqualified himself in the presidential contest. Former New York Gov. George Pataki said the “idiotic remarks would be shocking coming from anyone else.” And so on.
The New York Post was particularly brutal:
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