John McCain Says Donald Trump Should Apologize to War Vets

Senator John McCain has called for Donald Trump to apologize to veterans for denying that prisoners of war are heroes.

But when McCain was asked if he personally wanted an apology, he said he didn't think he was owed one.

"I don't think so," he told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Monday. "I think he may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who have undergone the prison experience in serving our country."

He continued: "So many men and some women who served and sacrificed and happened to be held prisoner and somehow to denigrate that in any way their service I think is offensive to most of our veterans.

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"When Mr. Trump said that he prefers to be with people who are not captured - well, the great honor of my life was to serve in the company of heroes. I’m not a hero."

Trump made the controversial comments about McCain and other prisoners of war as he spoke at a question-and-answer session at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday.

Speaking to pollster Frank Luntz, he denied that McCain, who was tortured while held captive for more than five years during the Vietnam War, was a war hero.

"He is not a war hero," Trump told him.

"He is a war hero," Luntz replied.

"He is a war hero because he was captured," Trump said, cutting him off. "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."

Some audience members gasped, while others laughed and applauded.

Following the remarks, Texas Governor Rick Perry called for Trump to drop out of the Republican race - but McCain said Trump should make that decision for himself.

McCain's daughter, Meghan, wrote on Twitter that she was horrified to hear his remarks about her father.

"I can't believe what I am reading this morning," she wrote on Sunday. "Horrified. Disgusted. There are no words."

 But Trump has said he does not need to apologize.

"People that fought hard and weren't captured and went through a lot, they get no credit," he added to ABC News on Sunday. "Nobody even talks about them. They're like forgotten. And I think that's a shame, if you want to know the truth.

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"People that were not captured that went in and fought, nobody talks about them. Those are heroes also."

On Monday, he remained defiant as he appeared on NBC's "Today Show" and said he did not need to apologize to McCain.

"I said very clearly he is a war hero," he insisted. "I have absolutely no problem with that."

In 1967, McCain was shot down over North Vietnam, ejecting him from his aircraft and leaving him with fractured arms and legs. He was hauled to the infamous "Hanoi Hilton", where he was tortured, and finally returned home in 1973 after the Paris Peace Accords. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Silver Star and a Purple Heart for his service.

Trump received several deferments between 1964 and 1969, including four student deferments and a medical deferment, according to The Smoking Gun.

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