Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans are eating him alive after some rather disgusting remarks about John McCain. It’s easy to hate a man who unleashed Sarah Palin on the nation, but one thing no one can deny is that John McCain served his country — and he suffered for it. However, Trump has called into question whether or not the 2008 presidential loser was an ACTUAL hero…because Trump prefers heroes who didn’t spend a large chunk of their life as a prisoner of war.
Speaking at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa on Saturday, Trump made it clear that his recent back-and-forth with McCain is driven by such hatred that he would attack McCain even for being captured and tortured for almost six years:
“He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Yes, yes, McCain — who endured nightmares the billionaire could never imagine in his wildest nightmares — isn’t a real hero like Trump — who obtained four student deferments from military service between 1964 and 1968. Say what you will about him, McCain served our country well.
Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain III spent 5 1/2 years as a POW in North Vietnam when he was forced to eject from his aircraft after a Russian missile hit the wing. If his own account of his capture is even half as honest as his campaign rhetoric (which isn’t very honest), what McCain endured in service to the United States is horrific, to say the least.
Some North Vietnamese swam out and pulled me to the side of the lake and immediately started stripping me, which is their standard procedure. Of course, this being in the center of town, a huge crowd of people gathered, and they were all hollering and screaming and cursing and spitting and kicking at me.
When they had most of my clothes off, I felt a twinge in my right knee. I sat up and looked at it, and my right foot was resting next to my left knee, just in a 90-degree position. I said, “My God–my leg!” That seemed to enrage them —I don’t know why. One of them slammed a rifle butt down on my shoulder, and smashed it pretty badly. Another stuck a bayonet in my foot. The mob was really getting up-tight.
For the next three or four days, I lapsed from conscious to unconsciousness. During this time, I was taken out to interrogation—which we called a “quiz”—several times. That’s when I was hit with all sorts of war-criminal charges. This started on the first day. I refused to give them anything except my name, rank, serial number and date of birth. They beat me around a little bit. I was in such bad shape that when they hit me it would knock me unconscious. They kept saying, “You will not receive any medical treatment until you talk.”
I didn’t believe this. I thought that if I just held out, that they’d take me to the hospital. I was fed small amounts of food by the guard and also allowed to drink some water. I was able to hold the water down, but I kept vomiting the food.
They wanted military rather than political information at this time. Every time they asked me something, I’d just give my name, rank and serial number and date of birth.
I think it was on the fourth day that two guards came in, instead of one. One of them pulled back the blanket to show the other guard my injury. I looked at my knee. It was about the size, shape and color of a football. I remembered that when I was a flying instructor a fellow had ejected from his plane and broken his thigh. He had gone into shock, the blood had pooled in his leg, and he died, which came as quite a surprise to us—a man dying of a broken leg. Then I realized that a very similar thing was happening to me.
When I saw it, I said to the guard, “O.K., get the officer.” An officer came in after a few minutes. It was the man that we came to know very well as “The Bug.” He was a psychotic torturer, one of the worst fiends that we had to deal with. I said, “O.K., I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.” He left and came back with a doctor, a guy that we called “Zorba,” who was completely incompetent. He squatted down, took my pulse. He did not speak English, but shook his head and jabbered to “The Bug.” I asked, “Are you going to take me to the hospital?” “The Bug” replied, “It’s too late.” I said, “If you take me to the hospital, I’ll get well.”
“Zorba” took my pulse again, and repeated, “It’s too late.” They got up and left, and I lapsed into unconsciousness.
Sometime later, “The Bug” came rushing into the room, shouting, “Your father is a big admiral; now we take you to the hospital.”
Conservatives are eating Trump and his hairpiece alive in the wake of his awful remarks. Rick Perry, who Trump recently called “dumb,” called on the real estate mogul to drop out of the race in a statement posted on the former Texas Governor’s web site:
“Donald Trump should apologize immediately for attacking Senator McCain and all veterans who have protected and served our country. As a veteran and an American, I respect Sen. McCain because he volunteered to serve his country. I cannot say the same of Mr. Trump. His comments have reached a new low in American politics. His attack on veterans make him unfit to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, and he should immediately withdraw from the race for President.”
“Saying John McCain is a terrible Senator does not give you license to attack his service to the country in the military,” Red State editor-in-chief Erick Erickson wrote on Twitter.
“John McCain is an American hero. I have nothing but respect for his service to our country,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal tweeted. “After Donald Trump spends six years in a POW camp, he can weigh in on John McCain’s service.”
Conservative columnist Bill Kristol also weighed in, calling the remark “[the] beginning of [the] end” and suggesting that The Donald apologize for his claim that McCain isn’t an actual war hero “pronto.”
While it is easy and even fun to attack John McCain for the many, many terrible things he has said and done, both sides of the aisle have almost unanimously decided that attacking McCain for being a POW is way too far. Twitter exploded, with even those who would normally be among McCain’s detractors coming to his defense:
While Trump’s attack on McCain was uncalled for in every sense, the positive side is that it gives GOP candidates an opportunity to attack his shady and terrible campaign tactics and rhetoric with almost zero risk of backlash. Hopefully, they use it.
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons