Donald Trump prefers war heroes who don’t get captured.
He said so at at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, where he slipped the shocking comment into a longer rant about ex-POW Sen. John McCain. The two have been in a tense public battle over the past few weeks and Trump felt the need to unload.
“He is not a war hero,” Trump told pollster Frank Luntz, who was facilitating the informal interview.
“He is a war hero,” Luntz insisted of the man who spent more than five years as a war prisoner.
“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have — I believe perhaps he is a war hero.”
Team Trump quickly released the following statement to try to manage the backlash, although he isn’t known to worry much about the aftermath of his bombshell statements:
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) July 18, 2015
Condemnation has been flying around at lightning speeds across social media for the low blow. Here are just a few samples:
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) July 18, 2015
At the heart of @realDonaldTrump statement is a lack of respect for those who have served – a disqualifying characteristic to be president
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 18, 2015
John McCain is an American hero. I have nothing but respect for his service to our country. — Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 18, 2015
After Donald Trump spends six years in a POW camp, he can weigh in on John McCain’s service
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 18, 2015