Trump: If There Was ‘Misunderstanding,’ ‘I Would Totally Take that Back’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addressed the comments he made about Senator John McCain (R-AZ) over the weekend where he said McCain is “a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured” by stating that he has “respect” for McCain, and “if there was a misunderstanding, I would totally take that back. But hopefully, I said it correctly, and certainly, shortly thereafter, I said it correctly” on Monday’s “O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel.

O’Reilly asked Trump how he would answer a question that O’Reilly said came from one of Trump’s supporters about why Trump needed to “get personal.” Trump referenced McCain calling his supporters “crazies,” and criticized McCain’s record on veterans.

O’Reilly responded, “you kind of dodged the question. You could have made the point that Mr. McCain’s characterization of your supporters as crazies was false. And then you could have just said what you said right now, that the vets need better treatment and I, Donald Trump, are going to do that if elected. But then, when asked about McCain you got into his war record, and I think you would admit here tonight that was a mistake because John McCain was a hero and you know that.”

Trump answered, “But I haven’t said anything different. In fact, Sharyl Attkisson analyzed what I said. She took it all the way, and she included, a few minutes later at a news conference which everybody goes to immediately, and looked she at it and she said [paraphrasing], ‘Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. He said the right things. In fact, he said ‘war hero’ four times.””

O’Reilly jumped in, “you can backtrack into that. But the fact of the matter is, we just played the clip, where you said, [paraphrasing] ‘he was captured and I like people who weren’t captured.’ Now, you know that that wasn’t correct. He was on a bombing mission. He was shot down. He was tortured. He could have been released, but said no because he wanted to stay with captured comrades. Come on Donald, you know that the way that came off wasn’t correct.” Trump answered, “Bill, no matter how you say it, what I said, including my remarks right afterwards, right off the stage, if you look at it, and Sharyl Attkisson is highly respected. she said it was very unfair the way the media…reported on me.”

O’Reilly interjected that some of the coverage may have been “unfair,” and “You do think John McCain is a hero. I know you do.” Trump said, “I do, and by the way, I said it, I actually said it four times, and I said it immediately after I went off stage because I was asked that question.”

At the end of the interview, Trump was asked what he would say to McCain “man-to-man, right to him.” Trump stated, “I have respect for Senator McCain. I used to like him a lot. I supported him. I raised a lot of money for his campaign against President Obama. And certainly, if there was a misunderstanding, I would totally take that back. But hopefully, I said it correctly, and certainly, shortly thereafter, I said it correctly. I would like him, however, to do something with the 15,000 people that were in Phoenix about illegal, you know, immigration. they are being decimated. these people are are being decimated. I would love to see him too a much better job taking care of the veterans, Bill.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett