In an article for USA Today, Trump says that his words on McCain have been distorted by the media, and criticizes McCain and Sanders for “covering up” the Veterans Affairs Scandal:
Thanks to McCain and his Senate colleague Bernie Sanders, their legislation to cover up the VA scandal, in which 1,000+ veterans died waiting for medical care, made sure no one has been punished, charged, jailed, fined or held responsible. McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them. The reality is that John McCain the politician has made America less safe, sent our brave soldiers into wrong-headed foreign adventures, covered up for President Obama with the VA scandal and has spent most of his time in the Senate pushing amnesty. He would rather protect the Iraqi border than Arizona’s. He even voted for the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, which allows Obama, who McCain lost to in a record defeat, to push his dangerous Iran nuclear agreement through the Senate without a supermajority of votes.
A number of my competitors for the Republican nomination have no business running for president. I do not need to be lectured by any of them. Many are failed politicians or people who would be unable to succeed in the private sector. Some, however, I have great respect for.
He also says that he was as co-chairman of the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission, which built a Veterans memorial, and that he financed and served as the grand marshal of the 1995 Nation’s Day Parade, which honored over 25,000 veterans.
Trump says that he does not owe McCain an apology saying that that vets are treated “like third-class citizens” and that McCain hasn’t done anything to help them.
People that fought hard and weren’t captured and went through a lot, they get no credit. Nobody even talks about them. They’re like forgotten, and I think that’s a shame, if you want to know the truth…I’m very disappointed in John McCain because the vets are horribly treated in this country. I’m fighting for the vets. I’ve done a lot for the vets.
He also says he received a standing ovation at the campaign event where he spoke, that nobody was insulted. On not serving in Vietnam:
If I would have gotten a low number, I would have been drafted. I would have proudly served. But I got a number, I think it was 356. That’s right at the very end. And they didn’t get — I don’t believe — past even 300, so I was — I was not chosen because of the fact that I had a very high lottery number.
Asked if he would continue name calling:
When people attack me, I let them have it back. People are constantly attacking my hair. I don’t see you coming to my defense.
After McCain calls his audience “crazies,” Trump criticizes McCain’s military and Senate record during a question-and-answer session at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa.
He’s not a war hero. He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have — I believe perhaps he is a war hero. If a person is captured, they’re a hero as far as I’m concerned…But you have to do other things also. I don’t like the job John McCain is doing in the Senate because he is not taking care of our veterans.
McCain criticizes Trump, commenting on his Phoenix rally:
It’s very bad. This performance with our friend out in Phoenix is very hurtful to me. Because what he did was he fired up the crazies…We have a very extreme element within our Republican Party. We did to some degree regain control of the Party. Now he galvanized them. He’s really got them activated. We’ll see how this plays out, but there is some anger in my state. People who otherwise might be more centrist are angry about this border situation.
The Secretary of State repeatedly neglects using the term “war” when describing the military conflict of the United States against ISIS, explaining why the term “war” is not appropriate to use. Kerry:
What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation. It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.
The comment generates confusion on Capitol Hill. McCain:
It’s hard to find a response to that. Then what was the president talking about [Wednesday] night?
McCain and Graham criticize Barack Obama’s approach to the conflict:
The president clearly wants to move deliberately and consult with allies and Congress as he considers what to do about ISIS. No one disputes that goal. But the threat ISIS poses only grows over time. It cannot be contained. It must be confronted. This requires a comprehensive strategy, presidential leadership and a far greater sense of urgency.
A comprehensive approach would include military actions in Syria:
But ultimately, ISIS is a military force, and it must be confronted militarily. Mr. Obama has begun to take military actions against ISIS in Iraq, but they have been tactical and reactive half-measures. Continuing to confront ISIS in Iraq, but not in Syria, would be fighting with one hand tied behind our back. We need a military plan to defeat ISIS, wherever it is.
The U.S. must support Kurdish peshmerga, Sunni tribes, moderate forces in Syria and effective units of the Iraqi security forces with arms, intelligence and military assistance, but avoid supporting Iranian troops. Supplying more assets, troops, resources and time could involve revising the Authorization for Use of Military Force, and employing an Afghanistan-like approach. They say other presidents successfully changed their tactics in response to the Soviet Union, Balkans and Iraq:
ISIS presents Mr. Obama with a similar challenge, and it has already forced him to begin changing course, albeit grudgingly. He should accept the necessity of further change and adopt a strategy to defeat this threat. If he does, he deserves bipartisan support. If he does not, ISIS will continue to grow into an even graver danger to our allies and to us.