Saturday 1 October 2016

Defiant Donald Trump refuses to apologise for John McCain's war record remarks

Andrea Shalal

Published 19/07/2015 | 17:04

FILE - In this July 11, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at FreedomFest in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
FILE - In this July 11, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at FreedomFest in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1973, file phot, John McCain is greeted by President Richard Nixon, left, in Washington. (AP Photo/File)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a news conference at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives for a news conference at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs autographs for supporters at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

Presidential candidate Donald Trump refused on Sunday to apologise for his remarks about the war record of US Senator John McCain despite a growing firestorm among fellow Republicans, and said he had no plans to drop out of the race.

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Asked on ABC's 'This Week' if he owed McCain an apology for saying the former prisoner in North Vietnam was only considered a war hero because he was captured, Trump said, "No, not at all." He again blasted McCain's support for fellow veterans.

FILE - In this fall 1967 file photo, John McCain is administered to at a Hanoi, Vietnam hospital as a prisoner of war. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this fall 1967 file photo, John McCain is administered to at a Hanoi, Vietnam hospital as a prisoner of war. (AP Photo/File)

"John McCain has failed," Trump said, citing delays in health care for veterans. "I believe that I will do far more for veterans than John McCain has done for many, many years, with all talk no action ... Nothing gets done."

Read more here: Trump stirs new controversy by criticising McCain war record  

McCain, a Navy fighter pilot, was imprisoned and tortured in a Hanoi prison for five years during the Vietnam War after being shot down.

Trump drew fire on Saturday for telling an audience in Iowa that McCain was "not a war hero," and got that distinction only because he was captured, although he later softened his remarks.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) responds to a question from Frank Luntz at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) responds to a question from Frank Luntz at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

Republican commentators said the latest remarks could mark the beginning of the end of his presidential bid.

Read more here: Ten of the worst things Donald Trump has ever said  

Two fellow Republican presidential candidates, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, speaking on different Sunday talk shows, said Trump's remarks made him unfit to serve as commander in chief.

"This is not just an insult to John McCain, who clearly is a war hero and a great man," Rubio told CNN's "State of the Union." "It's not just absurd. It's offensive. It's ridiculous. And I do think it is a disqualifier as commander in chief."

Perry told NBC's 'Meet the Press' that the Republican party needed to reach out to diverse populations, not drive them away, citing Trump's recent, widely-criticized comments about Mexican immigrants.

Read more here: Trump 'a wrecking ball' for Republican hopes, say candidates  

Trump rejected calls by fellow Republicans that he drop out of the presidential race and said they were simply upset about his lead in recent polls in North Carolina, Nevada and other states.

He predicted he would win the Hispanic vote if he won the Republican presidential nomination.

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