Donald Trump’s controversial remarks on Sen. John McCain’s time as a prisoner of war, immigration and other issues has made the flamboyant real estate mogul the driver of the media narrative around the 2016 presidential race, forcing other candidates to react, observers say.
In an ABC interview yesterday, Trump doubled down, saying he doesn’t owe an apology “at all” to McCain, a POW for 5 1⁄2 years in Vietnam, for saying he was “a war hero because he was captured ... I like people who weren’t captured.”
Trump said McCain should apologize to Trump supporters who were riled up by Trump’s inflammatory remarks on immigration — McCain called them “crazies” — and added that McCain “let us down” by losing to President Obama in 2008.
GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, who advised McCain’s presidential campaign, said Trump “should have walked it back when he had the chance.”
“Ripping on John McCain helps you with the conservative base, but he crossed over the line, and he was given the opportunity to walk it back, and he didn’t do it,” O’Connell said. “You only get so many of these mulligans, and he just used a big one. It’s clear that his bubble is going to burst, the only question is when.”