John McCain is taking the high road against Donald Trump, who sparked controversy this weekend when he questioned the senator’s heroism in the Vietnam war.
During a campaign speech in Iowa on Saturday, GOP hopeful Trump said McCain is ‘not a war hero’.
‘He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured,’ Trump said.
McCain, a Navy fighter pilot, was imprisoned and tortured in a Hanoi prison for five years during the Vietnam War after being shot down. While McCain suffered in a North Vietnamese cell, Trump dodged the draft, receiving both student deferments and a medical deferment for ‘bone heel spurs’ on both of his feet.
On Monday, McCain appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe where he weighed in on Trump’s comments for the first time.
When asked how he felt about a man who had not served in any war questioning his service record, McCain said that as a public figure he was not fazed by Trump’s political comments.
And on a personal level, McCain said was not offended since he has long since moved on from his years as a prisoner of war.
‘I put all of that behind me. For me to look back in anger at anyone is not productive,’ he said.
McCain went on to say that he doesn’t consider himself a hero, a distinguishment he saves for the more than 55,000 who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
However, McCain added that he believes Trump does owe an apology to military families and veterans for his ‘totally inappropriate’ statement that ‘he doesn’t like to be with people who are captured’.
‘I think the point here is there are so many men and some women who served and sacrificed and happened to be held prisoner and to denigrate that in any way is offensive to most of our veterans,’ McCain said.
Trump also spoke on the Today show Monday morning, attacking Matt Lauer for the media’s coverage of his speech.
Over the phone, Trump started yelling at Lauer when pressed about the exact wording of his comments, saying his statement was being twisted by journalists.
Trump drew attention to the fact that he reiterated later in the speech that McCain was indeed a war hero, but that the media has only been focusing on the one controversial quote.
‘I said very clearly that he is a war hero,’ Trump said. ‘I said that, but they never play it. They never want to play that.’
During the brief interview, Lauer stopped Trump from talking to speak about his personal opinion of McCain’s war service.
Lauer spoke about travelling with the senator to Vietnam, where they visited the prison where McCain endured beatings and torture for almost six years.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk