Iowa’s largest newspaper the Des Moines Register called for Donald Trump’s exit from the 2016 presidential race following the latter’s comments about Senator John McCain’s service in the Vietnam War.
On Saturday at a conservative summit in Iowa, Trump discredited the Arizona Republican – who served as a Navy fighter pilot and spent five and a half years in prison during the war – by saying that he “is not a war hero.”
“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump had said. “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.”
An opinion piece published by the Register on Monday said, “If he were merely a self-absorbed, B-list celebrity, his unchecked ego could be tolerated as a source of mild amusement. But he now wants to become president, which means that he aspires to be the leader of the free world and the keeper of our nuclear launch codes. That is problematic, because Trump, by every indication, seems wholly unqualified to sit in the White House. If he had not already disqualified himself through his attempts to demonize immigrants as rapists and drug dealers, he certainly did so by questioning the war record of John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona.”
The opinion piece criticizes Trump for damaging the war veteran’s reputation, calling it “disgraceful.”
“The best way Donald Trump can serve his country is by apologizing to McCain and terminating this ill-conceived campaign,” the op-ed said.
Other GOP presidential contenders – including Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Texas Governor Rock Perry – had also expressed condemnation towards Trump’s remarks and called for Trump to quit.
As reported by MSNBC, Trump had maintained that “nobody” was insulted by his comments, adding that the controversy was sparked by his party rivals who were trailing behind in the polls. He accused McCain for starting the controversy – McCain had referred to the attendees at one of Trump’s rallies as “crazies.”
According to a national poll from the Washington Post and ABC News, Trump has found support from 24 percent Republican registered voters. He leads the pack by a huge margin, ahead of Walker (13%) and Bush (12%).
Following Trump’s comments, McCain said that he doesn’t need Trump to apologize.
“There are 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,” McCain said at MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday.
“A great honor of my life was to serve in the company of heroes. I’m not a hero,” he added.
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