The Note: Taking On Trump

July 20, 2015, 9:24 AM
PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul Donald Trump, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, July 18, 2015.
Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul Donald Trump, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, July 18, 2015.
Nati Harnik/AP Photo


--JOHN MCCAIN WANTS DONALD TRUMP TO APOLOGIZE TO VETERANS: Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said billionaire Donald Trump should apologize to military service members and their families after his comments on troops held captive during war, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. When asked in an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe whether Trump owed him an apology, McCain said: "I don't think so," but added, "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 our country. ... 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. ... When Mr. Trump said that 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."

--TRUMP SAYS HE DOES NOT OWE JOHN MCCAIN AN APOLOGY. And Trump said yesterday he does not owe McCain an apology for saying the Arizona senator is only a war hero "because he was captured," ABC's BEN BELL and EMILY SHAPIRO note. Trump told ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ on "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. 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. "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."

--BACKSTORY: 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 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."

--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: The Trump portion of the 2016 race may be long remembered, though like the birther saga of the last cycle, there will be little of use to reflect upon. In any event, it's winding down now, or so it would appear, in predictable if not quite painless fashion. What's undoing Donald Trump's legitimacy may seem like a typical series of rants. Yet he has shown that even he can go too far: His disparagement of John McCain opened Republican floodgates of criticism - and not because McCain himself remains particularly beloved inside the GOP. This won't end Trump's polling strength by itself, if his own history with controversial comments is any guide. But it is all but certain to end a "let Trump be Trump" sentiment among his rivals, borne out of both fear of the Donald and a desire to attract his supporters down the line. Trump will continue to be loud and defiant, but he will cease being relevant long before votes are cast.


SCOTT WALKER CONFRONTED BY UNDOCUMENTED WORKER DURING STOP TO CHILDHOOD HOMETOWN. Scott Walker was confronted by a family of an undocumented worker in his childhood hometown of Plainfield, Iowa during one of the final stops of his whirlwind presidential campaign launch tour on Sunday, ABC's JORDYN PHELPS reports. Jose Flores, an undocumented immigrant who calls Wisconsin home, was accompanied by his 13-year-old daughter Leslie and 7-year-old son Luis, both of whom were born in the United States and naturalized citizens. "Why are you trying to break my family apart?" 13-year-old Leslie Flores asked, confronting Walker as he approached the family and addressed Leslie's father directly. Shaking Flores' hand, Walker said he "completely sympathize[s] with the situation you're all in and others are in" but explained his position for not supporting deferred action. "The fact is, we're a nation of laws," Walker said. "And unfortunately, the president last year, after saying 22 times before last year that he couldn't make the law himself, he said he wasn't the emperor, he was the president of the United States and he couldn't change the law, he decided to change the law even though the courts announced that you can't do that." WATCH:

NOTED: WALKER'S PRESIDENTIAL HOPES RIDING ON A WINNEBAGO. On his first trip to Iowa as the fresh face of the Republican presidential field, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker put the pedal to the metal, crisscrossing the Hawkeye State's corn field-lined interstates in a souped-up Winnebago RV with a goal of hitting all 99 counties before voters here cast the nation's first votes in the presidential nominating process, ABC's JORDYN PHELPS notes. "We're pulling a full Grassley. We're doing like Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Terry Bandstad," Walker told audience after audience, referring to the state's two senators and governor, as he traversed the length and breadth of Iowa with his wife and two college-age sons. "We're going around in an RV in all 99 counties across this great state. We're having a lot of fun, it's a lot of fun for us cruising around the state in the RV."

CLINTON CONDEMNS TRUMP'S 'INSULTS'. Leave it to Donald Trump to help Republicans and Democrats find common ground, ABC's LIZ KREUTZ reports. Hillary Clinton joined the chorus of presidential candidates from both parties over the weekend to condemn Trump for saying Sen. John McCain, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, was not a war hero. During her headlining speech at a Democratic dinner in Little Rock, Ark. Clinton called Trump's assertion "shameful" and described McCain as a "genuine war hero." "Donald Trump, finally a candidate whose hair gets more attention that mine," Clinton quipped. "But, there's nothing funny about the hate he is spewing at immigrants and their families, and now the insults he's directed at a genuine war hero, Senator John McCain," she added. "It's shameful, and so is the fact that it took so long for most of his fellow Republican candidates to start standing up to him."

5 STORIES YOU'LL CARE ABOUT IN POLITICS THIS WEEK: Here's a glimpse at some of the stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead, courtesy of ABC's CHRIS GOOD:

TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC's CHRIS GOOD: Jeb Bush will deliver a speech on "taking on Mt. Washington" in a conference center at Florida State University in Tallahassee at 10 am ET. "We used to call this city 'Mount Tallahassee' because it was so remote from the people, so caught up in the settled ways of a comfortable establishment," Bush will say, according to excerpts of his remarks as prepared for delivery. "Should I win this election, you will not find me deferring to the settled ways of 'Mount Washington,' either. The overspending, the overreaching, the arrogance, and the sheer incompetence in that city - these problems have been with us so long that they are sometimes accepted as facts of life. But a president should never accept them, and I will not. We need a president willing to challenge the whole culture in our nation's capital -and I mean to do it!"

--ELSEWHERE ON THE TRAIL: Lindsey Graham will hold a "No Nukes for Iran" town-hall meeting with guests Joe Lieberman and John McCain at The 3 West Club in NYC at 4 pm ET. Marco Rubio will be in New Hampshire, where he'll hold a meet-and-greet at Able Ebenezer Brewing Company in Merrimack at 4:15 pm ET, a town-hall at Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry at 6 pm ET, a meet-and-greet at Robie's County Store in Hooksett at 9 am ET, and another meet-and-greet at Pease Golf Course in Portsmouth at 12:30 pm ET. Chris Christie will be in South Carolina, where he'll hold a breakfast meet-and-greet and town-hall at Skillets Cafe on Hilton Head Island at 9 am ET and another town-hall at Liberty Tap Room in Mt. Pleasant at 5:30 pm ET. Mike Huckabee will be in South Carolina, where he'll visit the Boys and Girls Club of Florence at 10 am ET and the Hope Health Corporate Office in Florence at 11:45 am ET. He'll meet with members of the Florence County GOP at Bazen's Restaurant in Florence at 1:30 pm ET, and he'll hold a "Pastor's Meeting" at the First Baptist Church of Florence at 4:30 pm ET. Bobby Jindal will be in Iowa, where he'll speak and take questions at Campbell Grain Farms in Grand Mound at 1 pm ET. Later, he'll hold a town-hall at Thunder Bay Grille in Davenport at 7 pm ET.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL. Former President George H. W. Bush was discharged from the Maine Medical Center in Portland yesterday, four days after he fell at his Maine home, a family spokesman said. Bush was treated for a fractured vertebrae, spokesman Jim McGrath said. The former president was taken to the hospital Wednesday after he fell at his summer home in Kennebunkport, ABC's EMILY SHAPIRO notes. On Saturday, McGrath tweeted that Bush was in good spirits and his doctors were very pleased with his progress. The type of fracture that Bush sustained usually takes three to four months to heal, attending physician Dr. William D'Angelo said.


@jmartNYT: Important distinction tween Hillary & Rs on investment income, but what are chances a GOP House hikes cap gains tax? ...

@ConsultReid: The more calls for his exit, the longer Trump stays in the race. His brand demands something he can call a win, whether real or perceived.

@froomkin: Having Pope visit DC while GOP is shutting down government in order to cut aid for the poor is perfect timing ...

@tripgabriel: Looking forward to the Virginia Cabernet summit between @realDonaldTrump and @SenJohnMcCain brokered by @FrankLuntz

@katie_glueck: Late to this but great @amychozick read on Hillary's dad ...

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