Brutal Wall Street Journal editorial shreds Donald Trump and his defenders

Donald TrumpREUTERS/Dominick ReuterBusinessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters after a back-yard reception in Bedford, New Hampshire, June 30, 2015.

Real-estate mogul turned reality-television star Donald Trump has been fending off criticism that has accompanied his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, but an increasing number of media outlets and politicians are eviscerating him over his attack on Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) this weekend.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote a scathing editorial published Monday, in which it blasted both Trump and his defenders.

“The question now is how long his political and media apologists on the right will keep pretending he’s a serious candidate,” the editorial board wrote.

At an event in Iowa over the weekend, Trump said McCain was only considered a war hero because he was captured, following up that comment with: “I like people that weren’t captured.”

As the Journal and other news outlets have pointed out, Trump avoided serving in the Vietnam War, while McCain spent more than five years in captivity at a Vietnamese prison camp.

Criticism of Trump has come from both sides of the aisle, but Trump nevertheless doubled down on his comments and issued a statement refusing to apologise.

The Journal noted that Trump’s statement claiming McCain is “yet another all talk, no action politician who spends too much time on television” is especially ironic coming from someone who is known for his roles on TV shows like “The Apprentice.”

“Coming from a reality TV star, this too-much-time-on-television line is hilarious,” the Journal noted. “Mr. McCain doesn’t need our defence on Mr. Trump’s other insults, but they are notable because anyone with a cursory knowledge of politics knows they’re false. They show that Mr. Trump has barely a passing acquaintance with America’s current policy debates.”

The editorial continued:

As a standard-bearer for conservative ideas, Mr. Trump would likewise be a catastrophe. His only discernible principle is the promotion of his personal brand. His main message seems to be that because he’s rich and doesn’t care what anyone thinks, he can afford to tell everyone to go to hell. Some Americans may find it satisfying 16 months from Election Day to tell pollsters they’d vote for him, but that doesn’t mean conservative elites should validate this nonsense.

The Journal concluded by saying: “If Donald Trump becomes the voice of conservatives, conservatism will implode along with him.”

And The Journal isn’t the only news outlet pointing out the absurdity of Trump’s comments.

John mccain powAFP/Getty ImagesThis file picture taken in 1967 shows US Navy Airforce Major John McCain lying on a bed in a Hanoi hospital as he was being given medical care for his injuries. John McCain, a current US presidential hopeful, was captured in 1967 at a lake in Hanoi after his Navy warplane was downed by the Northern Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War.

Putting Trump’s comments into a broader context, The Washington Post published a piece that explored what Trump was “up to while John McCain was a prisoner of war.”

The answer to that question “reveals deep divides in the two men’s lives and claims to leadership,” Michael E. Miller and Fred Barbash wrote. “They may similarly embrace free enterprise, but when it comes to character, the two GOP presidential hopefuls could hardly be more different.”

Miller and Barbash pointed out that “as Trump was preparing to take Manhattan [real estate], McCain was trying to relearn how to walk.”

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