“Tinted meatball” Donald Trump attacked the Vietnam service of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at a social conservative confab in Iowa on Saturday, boasting that the 2008 Republican presidential nominee was only considered a war hero “because he was captured.”
“I like people that weren’t captured, okay?,” he told moderator Frank Luntz.
Here is the clip of Trump’s pathetic comment on John McCain. pic.twitter.com/nGwxriq390
— Austin Barbour (@Austin_Barbour) July 18, 2015
Trump, who missed the Vietnam War after getting a series of student and medical deferments, has now left an opening for the Republican presidential candidates who trail him in the polls (which is most of them) to get a few clean jabs in. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. McCain is not a popular figure among conservative activists, and the entire appeal of Trump is that he says things like this about people that conservative activists don’t like. (It certainly wouldn’t be the first time conservative voters overlooked a gratuitous shot at a candidate’s war record because they didn’t like his politics.)
True to form, the audience in Iowa ate it up:
Trump leaves stage to standing ovation.
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) July 18, 2015
Update: Now the backlash from Trump’s fellow contenders is pouring in. Here’s Jeb Bush:
Enough with the slanderous attacks. @SenJohnMcCain and all our veterans – particularly POWs have earned our respect and admiration.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) July 18, 2015
And longtime McCain bestie Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.):
If there was ever any doubt that he should not be #GOP standard bearer, his growing mountain of stupid statements should end all doubt.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 18, 2015