The White House defended President Barack Obama’s former campaign rival against Donald Trump’s recent attack.
Trump, a real estate mogul, reality TV star and Republican presidential candidate, said that 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was not a war hero. He has since followed by saying McCain was a hero and saying the media has distorted his words.
“I will just tell you generally that even in the midst of their competitive 2008 campaign for the White House, President Obama expressed his admiration and deep respect for Sen. McCain’s heroism,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.
Earnest said that he hasn’t had a “detailed discussion” with Obama about the matter.
“There are political differences between Senator McCain and President Obama that have continued even as President Obama has been in office, but those debates have not reduced his appreciation for Senator McCain’s remarkable service to this country,” Earnest continued.
Trump has refused to apologize to McCain and said the media has misrepresented what he said when speaking to the Iowa crowd this weekend.
Earnest noted a McCain interview Monday, where the senator said he didn’t want an apology, but thought Trump should apologize to veterans.
“The fact is, the most notable comment in this episode came from Senator McCain himself, who I think pretty selflessly made clear that he didn’t really care about an apology,” Earnest said. “But he did believe our military veterans are entitled to one.”