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Perry: Trump Should Withdraw From Race After Saying John McCain ‘Is Not a War Hero’

Former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) says Donald Trump is “unfit to be Commander-in-Chief,” and says the New York billionaire “should immediately withdraw from the race for President.”

Perry’s sharp words come after Trump attacked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), saying that McCain was not a war hero and was only regarded as such because he had been captured and held as a prisoner of war.

In his remarks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, Trump, who has been trading insults with McCain for the past few days, continued his critical remarks about the Senator. When moderator Frank Luntz commented that McCain was a war hero, Trump, according to a report by Politico, responded, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

McCain was a pilot in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and had volunteered to serve. He was captured and held as a POW for about five and a half years. McCain was kept in solitary confinement for several of those years and subjected to brutal torture.

Trump avoided the war by receiving four student deferments between 1964 and 1968. Politico also reported, “In Ames, [Trump] told reporters another medical deferment he received after graduating was for a bone spur in his foot. When asked which foot, Trump told reporters to look up the records.”

Captain James Richard "Rick" Perry flew C-130 tactical aircraft in the Middle East and Europe from 1972 to 1977,

Captain James Richard “Rick” Perry flew C-130 tactical aircraft in the Middle East and Europe from 1972 to 1977,

For Perry, who served as a Captain in the Air Force and has made national security and veteran’s issues a major part of his 2016 campaign message, Trump’s comments were “disgraceful” and “reprehensible.” He posted a series of tweets criticizing Trump and then released a statement calling him “unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.”

Perry’s full statement, posted on his website, called for Trump to withdraw from the race:

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.

So far, Trump has refused to apologize for his comments, continuing to attack McCain in a press gaggle after his speech and in a statement sent to reporters afterwards.

As Breitbart News reported, in that statement, Trump says that he has “great respect for all those who serve in our military including those who weren’t captured and are heroes,” and calls McCain “yet another all talk, no action politician” who has not done enough on veterans’ issues. There was no mention of apologizing or backing down from his previous comments that McCain was “not a war hero.”

Trump’s statement ended with a boastful note about the applause he received:

Note, Mr. Trump left to a long lasting standing ovation, which will be by far the biggest ovation of the weekend, and much congratulatory praise.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.

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