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Begin the unraveling? Donald Trump calls out John McCain for being 'captured' in Vietnam


Republicans looking for a way to go after the celebrity presidential candidacy of Donald Trump got their chance Saturday when Trump, who never served in the military, belittled the service of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was held prisoner for six years and tortured during the Vietnam War.

"He's a war hero because he was captured," Trump said at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. "I like people that weren't captured."

McCain criticized Trump earlier this week in an interview with the New Yorker in which McCain lamented that Trump. who had drawn thousands to a rally in Phoenix, hurt the GOP with his comments against Mexican immigrants that "fired up the crazies."

Trump called McCain a "dummy" on Twitter after the interview was published. But the real-estate magnate took it a step further -- and perhaps a step too far -- in Saturday's speech, which drew immediate backlash from his rivals and the party. Instead of backing down, Trump's campaign followed up with a statement continuing to bash McCain.

"I am not a fan [sic] John McCain because he has done so little for our Veterans and he should know better than anybody what the Veterans need, especially in regards to the VA," the statement began (read it in full below). "He is yet another all talk, no action politician who spends too much time on television and not enough time doing his job and helping the Vets."

"I have great respect for all those who serve in our military including those that weren't captured and are also heroes," Trump adds in the statement, which ends with a note about how his speech received "a long lasting standing ovation, which will be by far the biggest ovation of the weekend, and much congratulatory praise."

That certainly wasn't true elsewhere.

Sean Spicer, communications director and chief strategist for the Republican National Committee, issued a statement defending McCain.

"Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period," Spicer said. "There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably." 

Then came the other presidential candidates.


Trump's full statement: