During a news conference after his appearance, Trump did not apologize but tried to clarify his remarks: “If a person is captured, they’re a hero as far as I’m concerned. I don’t like the job John McCain is doing in the Senate because he is not taking care of our veterans.”
Trump said he avoided service in the Vietnam War through student deferments and a medical deferment, then said he didn’t serve because “I was not a big fan of the Vietnam war.” He added he wasn’t a protester.
Other 2016 hopefuls were quick to attack Trump’s comments. In a statement, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the remarks make Trump “unfit to be commander-in-chief.” On Twitter, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said: “After Donald Trump spends six years in a POW camp, he can weigh in on John McCain’s service.” Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wrote on Twitter: “Enough with the slanderous attacks. @SenJohnMcCain and all our veterans — particularly POWs have earned our respect and admiration.”