Republican presidential candidate and former Texas Governor Rick Perry strongly criticized fellow candidate Donald Trump for his remarks about Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at Saturday’s Family Leadership Summit in Iowa.
Perry’s discussion began with Frank Luntz asking the audience who they would invest in the most between teachers, nurses, and veterans. Perry then expressed his desire to answer the question. He stated, “if you don’t first keep this country free. If you don’t first have the investment in the men and women who are willing their hand up and say, ‘Here am I, send me,’ You will never have the dollars to hire the teacher. You will never have the dollars to hire a nurse.”
Perry then switched subjects, saying, “driving back in here, I heard something that was as disturbing to me as I’ve heard in this entire process, of running for the presidency of the united states. And there was an individual who stood, — or sat upon this stage earlier today, who doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about people who serve this country. To disparage a legitimate American hero like John McCain, you may disagree with his politics, and that’s fine. I tell people all the time, it’s okay to question your government, but don’t question the men and women of the military who sacrificed, and sometimes pay a huge price for our safety and our freedom and our economics. As an individual who has worn the uniform of this country, I was highly offended by what Donald Trump said about John McCain and his years of sacrifice in a dirty, dingy, terrible prison in North Vietnam. Donald Trump owes every American veteran, and in particular John McCain, an apology. So, to finish that thought up, I think it makes Iowans very wise, in being able to identify that without a strong military, without our ability to defend and protect these values of this ordinary country that we live in, that America is lost. And I want to say thank you to every one of you who’ve worn the uniform of this country, that are wearing the uniform of this country today, or those of you who have helped raise great and extraordinary patriots. Thank you for your gift to this country.”
Perry was then asked, “If Donald Trump does not apologize to John McCain, do you feel that that disqualifies him as a legitimate presidential candidate? He answered, “And as the commander-in-chief in this country, in one word, yes.”
Trump issued a statement following his speech stating that he has, “great respect for all those who serve in our military including those that weren’t captured and are also heroes.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett