Presidential candidate Donald Trump is under fire after criticising John McCain’s time as a prisoner in the Vietnam War.
Mr McCain, a US senator from Arizona, criticised Mr Trump this week for his racist comments on Mexican immigrants: "He fired up the crazies."
The reality television star turned politician has surged to the top of national GOP polls in recent weeks. While speaking on Saturday at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, he responded to Senator McCain.
"He's not a war hero — He's a war hero because he was captured... I like people that weren't captured."
The former naval pilot was taken prisoner by north Vietnamese soldiers where he was held in captivity for nearly six years.
Republican National Committee Chief Strategist and Communications Director Sean Spicer released a statement regarding Donald Trump’s comments:
"Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period. There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”
Fellow Republicans also issued responses defending the decorated Mr McCain's time spent in Vietnam.
Enough with the slanderous attacks. @SenJohnMcCain and all our veterans - particularly POWs have earned our respect and admiration.— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) July 18, 2015
If there was ever any doubt that @realDonaldTrump should not be our commander in chief, this stupid statement should end all doubt.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 18, 2015
John McCain is an American hero. I have nothing but respect for his service to our country.— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 18, 2015
Just told a crowd in Sioux City: @SenJohnMcCain is an American hero— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) July 18, 2015
.@SenJohnMcCain is an American hero, period.— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) July 18, 2015
Senator McCain's daughter also issued a response to the comments.
I can't believe what I am reading this morning. Horrified. Disgusted. There are no words.— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) July 18, 2015