Republicans fire back at Trump


Shannon McCarty/Iowa State Daily

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks to the audience at the Family Leadership Summit on Saturday, July 18 at Stephens Auditorium.

Shannon Mccarty

Republican presidential candidates immediately took to social media to express their outrage after Donald Trump’s comment insinuating Sen. John McCain may not be a war hero. 

Some of the candidates also took the opportunity to talk about Trump, as well as other opponents, at the Family Leadership Summit on Saturday at Stephens Auditorium on the ISU campus. 

McCain spent more than five years in a POW camp after his jet was shot down over Vietnam.

Presidential candidate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the first candidate at the summit to mention Trump’s comments.

“As an individual who has worn the uniform of this country, I was highly offended by what Donald Trump said about John McCain,” Perry said.  

Perry went on to say it was one of the most disturbing things he has heard in his entire process of running for president.

Perry said Trump doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about people who serve this country. He added that Trump should not question those who have sacrificed for the country’s safety. 

“Donald Trump owes every American veteran, and in particular John McCain an apology,” Perry said.  

Pollster and mediator of the event, Frank Luntz, posed a question for Perry. 

“If Donald Trump does not apologize to John McCain, do you feel that disqualifies him as a legitimate presidential campaign?” Luntz asked.  

“And as the commander in chief of this country. In one word… yes,” Perry said.  

Lindsey Graham, a U.S. senator from South Carolina also addressed the issue while discussing the military. 

“He (John McCain) was captured, but I don’t think he was a loser,” Graham said. 

Graham said if Trump really wanted to be commander in chief and was serious about the job, the last thing he would ever do is show disrespect for anybody. The senator said John McCain is a friend of his and McCain has served our country in a unique way. 

“John McCain and every other POW deserves our respect,” Graham said.  

Mediator Frank Luntz posed the same question to Graham as he did Perry. 

Graham replied by saying he believes people will figure it out and they will say “Donald Trump, you’re fired.”

Graham also fired shots at the leading Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. 

“If you’re looking for something new folks, she ain’t it. I can beat her,” Graham said. 

The senator said he thinks she has been the “architect of a failed foreign policy.” 

Graham also said it is very difficult to get a straight answer out of Clinton. 

“It’s easier to talk to the leader of North Korea than it is her,” Graham said. 

Graham said he plans on questioning Hillary about Benghazi and her support for Obamacare.  

Another Republican candidate, Mike Huckabee, did not address Trump’s comments at the summit, but he did share his thoughts on twitter. 

// <![CDATA[ // ]]>

Huckabee had a large and positive reception from the crowd, with two standing ovations. 

When asked about recent events in places such as Charleston, S.C. and Baltimore raising the question of racism in America, Huckabee said, “We don’t have a skin problem in America. We have a sin problem in America.”