Donald Trump Says He Does Not Owe John McCain Apology
The real estate mogul has come under bipartisan criticism.
Trump told Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" that he won't be pulling out of the presidential race over his comments, which he made Saturday during a campaign event in Iowa. Trump said he left to a "standing ovation" after speaking at the Family Leadership Council summit.
"When I left the room, it was a total standing ovation," said Trump. "It was wonderful to see. Nobody was insulted."
When speaking about McCain on Saturday, Trump said he likes "people who weren't captured." He didn't back down when asked about the comment.
"People that fought hard and weren't captured and went through a lot, they get no credit," he said. "Nobody even talks about them. They're like forgotten, and I think that's a shame, if you want to know the truth."
Before Trump's comments Saturday, McCain had said the real estate mogul was firing up "crazies." Trump had already found himself embroiled in controversy over comments he made last month regarding Mexican immigrants.
Raddatz asked Trump if McCain's capture in Vietnam -- where he spent five years as a prisoner of war and was beaten and tortured by the North Vietnamese -- described a war hero. He reiterated what his campaign said following his comments Saturday -- that he was disappointed in the Arizona senator because of how veterans are treated in the U.S.
"I'm very disappointed in John McCain because the vets are horribly treated in this country," said Trump. "I'm fighting for the vets. I've done a lot for the vets."
Trump said veterans were treated like "third-class citizens," adding that McCain has "done nothing to help the vets."
Trump didn't serve in the Vietnam War after receiving four student deferments and an additional medical deferment after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1968. He said he would have "proudly served" but wasn't drafted because of his high lottery number.
"If I would have gotten a low number, I would have been drafted. I would have proudly served," he said. "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 his pattern of "name-calling, using terms like 'dummy,' 'loser,' 'total losers' on Twitter and elsewhere" when he's "criticized or attacked" if he was elected president, Trump told Raddatz he only gives it back to people who attack him.
"When people attack me, I let them have it back," he said. "People are constantly attacking my hair. I don’t see you coming to my defense."
Trump has come under criticism from numerous fellow 2016 candidates on both sides of aisle. Hillary Clinton called the attack on McCain "shameful." Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the comments by Trump made him unfit to be president and said the reality TV star should withdraw from the race.