Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been the target of much criticism, most recently for inflammatory remarks he made about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at a forum Saturday in Ames, Iowa, hosted by pollster Frank Luntz.
Speaking by phone Monday on NBC’s Today, Trump reiterated to host Matt Lauer that he’s “not a fan of John McCain,” asserting that “he’s done a terrible job for the vets.” The Today host steered Trump from McCain’s record to Saturday’s comments:
He’s not a war hero. He is a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, okay? I hate to tell you. He’s a war hero because he was captured.
“If you saw the press conference afterwards,” Trump told Lauer, “Savannah [Guthrie] and the media just has done such a false number as usual. In fact, Sharyl Attkisson, the highly respected reporter..said I said four times that ‘McCain is a war hero.’ I said it at the news conference. I said it on the stage.” Lauer then asked Trump if he would say the same thing he said in Iowa to Sen. McCain’s face. Trump said he wouldn’t.
Excuse me Matt, because you’re the media, and you do the same thing; the next sentence was ‘He is a war hero.’ I said that, but they never wanna play it; and you don’t wanna play it..Savannah started it off by saying, ‘I said that he wasn’t a war hero.’ I didn’t say that. And if you would’ve run just another three seconds, you would’ve said that I said very clearly, ‘He is a war hero.’ I have absolutely no problem with that.
“What I do have problems with,” Trump continued, “is that he called 15,000 people that showed up for me to speak in Phoenix, he called them ‘crazies’ because they wanna stop illegal immigration.”
Lauer assured Trump they ran the other parts of his comments where he said, “He is a war hero.” The Republican presidential candidate then highlighted a piece by Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS News, which critiques a report by The Washington Post that says “McCain was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese.” This is part of Attkisson’s conclusion:
Trump actually said the opposite of what the Post lead sentence and video caption claim. The Post might have been able to get away stating that Trump “implied” McCain was not a war hero because McCain was captured, but even that would have been a subjective interpretation since Trump had actually stated the opposite.
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It’s true that Trump stated one time that McCain is not a war hero. But Trump stated four times that McCain is a war hero–and that was not accurately characterized in the article.
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h/t: The Wrap
Will Trump get through this, or will the comments derail his campaign? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.