John McCain responds to Donald Trump's attack on his war hero status with dignified response

'He owes an apology to those who have undergone the prison experience in serving our country'

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Senator John McCain has finally responded to Donald Trump’s questioning of his status as a war hero because he was held prisoner for five years in Vietnam.

McCain served as a naval pilot before he was captured by Vietnamese soldiers in 1967 and held in Hanoi as a prisoner of war. He was interrogated, tortured and almost starved to death during his time in captivity and has been applauded for enduring this experience while serving his country.

But Trump dismissed his heroism at an event in Iowa on Saturday, telling an audience: “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” He has remained defiant over his comments and refused to apologise despite condemnation from within his own party.

In an interview with MSNBC McCain called for the business magnate to direct his apologies elsewhere, telling the network: “I don’t think he owes an apology to me."

“He may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflicts and who have undergone the prison experience in serving our country.

"When Mr Trump said he prefers to be with people who are not captured, well the great honour of my life was to serve in the company of heroes. I’m not a hero, but those who were my senior ranking officers, those who inspired us to do things that we otherwise wouldn’t have been capable of doing – those are the people that I think he owes an apology to."

Trump’s defiance has become a hallmark of his presidential campaign following his controversial claims that Mexican immigrants are “rapists”, criminals and bring "tremendous infectious disease" into the US.

He summarised his position in a comment piece for USA Today on Sunday evening, when he said did not need a “lecture” from any other Republican nominee on how to conduct himself.