McCain: Trump Owes Families of Vets an Apology, ‘Crazies’ Was ‘Term of Affection’

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) stated that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump owes the families of veterans an apology, and that him referring to Trump’s supporters as “crazies” was meant as “a term of affection” on Monday’s “Morning Joe.”

McCain was asked if Trump owed him an apology. He answered, “No, I don’t think. But 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 their country. I’m in the arena as TR used to say, but in the case of many of our veterans, when Mr. Trump said 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. But those who were my senior ranking officers, people like Col. Bud Day, Congressional Medal of Honor winner, those that inspired us to do things that we otherwise wouldn’t have been capable of doing. Those are the people that I think he owes an apology to.”

McCain was then asked about the Swift Boat Veterans ads against John Kerry back in 2004, McCain stated that the military records of those who fought in wars should be off the table politically, and “there are 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.”

McCain later added, “For me to look back in anger at anyone is nonproductive and our country is — was divided in an almost unprecedented fashion during the Vietnam War. And when I came home, I was shocked. And so I’ve worked ever since to try to heal those wounds. I spend time with veterans. I do everything I can to help them. As you know, there are major scandals going on. I had two pieces of legislation that — to try to help that issue and the suicide rate, which is so high. The best thing to do is put it behind us and move forward, and just express our gratitude to those who have served and sacrificed. Who are the real heroes? They’re the 55,000 names that are down on the wall engraved in black granite that I stop by sometimes early in the morning and when the sun’s going down. And I was Fourth of July with the men and women who are serving in Afghanistan, and I can tell you, they are just wonderful, better than my generation.”

McCain was then asked if he regretted calling Trump’s supporters “crazies.” He said, “Listen, you know my state is a very dynamic and divisive state. And we’ve got lots of arguments and lots of debates going on. I have hundreds of town hall meetings all over Arizona and I’m called crazy by the people that come there. I thought it was a term of endearment.” And “I love the debate. And I love my people and so I meant it in a way that — in a term of affection, to be honest with you.”

McCain concluded that Trump shouldn’t drop out of the race over his comments, but should apologize to the families of US veterans. He added “I can assure you, if you talk to our veterans, and I’ve had a flood of calls from our veterans, they are not happy.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett