President Trump declined an opportunity to apologize for his 2015 comments disparaging the late John McCain because he “was captured” as a prison of war in Vietnam, after The Atlantic alleged he had called American service members who died fighting “suckers” and “losers.”
Fox News joined the Associated Press and The Washington Post in confirming parts of the story after Trump denied the report.
On Friday afternoon, the president was asked if he regretted his comments that McCain is only a war hero because he was captured, saying he likes people who didn’t get captured. The president on Friday rejected the opportunity.
“Look, I say what I say, and I never got along with John McCain … I wasn’t a fan,” Trump said, adding he “disagreed with many of his views” on wars in the Middle East.
Trump on if he regrets his 2015 comments that John McCain is only a war hero because he was captured: "I say what I say … I disagreed with him on a lot of things. Time has proven me right, to a large extent." pic.twitter.com/pmYk8ZzCvf
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 4, 2020
Trump called The Atlantic story “a hoax.”
He insisted no one ever called him for comment, but The Atlantic says calls made to White House officials for comment were not returned before publication.
Asked why former White House chief of staff John Kelly had not come to his defense, the president blasted the four-star general and insisted he was never up for the job.
“By the time he got eaten up in this world, he was unable to function and I told him, John, you’re going to have to go,” the president said, blasting his former top aide.