John McCain, in one of the odder endorsements of the 2016 election cycle, has thrown his support behind presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, he stated Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, saying it would be “foolish to ignore the will of voters.”
Under ordinary circumstances, this may not seem like such a big deal, but Trump is no ordinary candidate, and in a time when Republican establishment types are seriously weighing a third-party candidate to derail their voters’ choice, McCain’s endorsement is something of a surprise.
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) May 9, 2016
It’s also somewhat surprising because John McCain was just one of the many establishment types that Trump attacked in his rise to power.
In spite of the Arizona Senator’s past as a war hero and former prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, Trump didn’t hesitate to go after 2008’s failed presidential candidate.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in a public interview in June 2015. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
After dropping that attack, he clarified, “Perhaps he’s a war hero, but right now, he’s said bad things about a lot of people.”
Trump also said that while he supported John McCain in the 2008 bid against President Barack Obama, he “never liked him after that, because I don’t like losers.”
What prompted Trump to take that swipe at the senator was McCain’s remark that Trump needed to stop “firing up the crazies” with his comments on immigration.
Nevertheless, John McCain thought it would be a good idea for Trump to apologize for the “people that weren’t captured” comment, not personally, but to POWs in general.
“I think it’s important for Donald Trump to express his appreciation for veterans,” McCain said in comments reported here by Business Insider. “What he said about me, John McCain, that’s fine. I don’t require any repair of that. But when he said, ‘I don’t like people who were captured,’ then there’s a body of American heroes, and I’d like to see him retract that statement. Not about me, but about the others.”
McCain added that people can have disagreements, almost “violently,” over an issue, but “to attack their character and their integrity — those wounds will take a long time to heal.”
The chances of Donald Trump actually apologizing are not very high in spite of McCain’s endorsement. Others have tried to get him to walk back that particular piece of rhetoric, but the closest he came was this statement in July reported by CNN.
“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.”
Earlier this month, John McCain acknowledged in a recording reported here by Politico that if Donald Trump was “at the top of the ticket, I may be in for the race of my life,” referring to his bid for reelection this November.
“If you listen or watch Hispanic media in the state and in the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I’ve never seen in 30 years,” he added.
What do you think about John McCain and his Trump endorsement? Is he right that Trump should apologize for the POW comments or would any apologies from Trump undermine the image that has brought him to the top of the GOP ticket? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image of John McCain via Flickr Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore]