Speed Reads

trump drama

Reminder: John McCain refused an early release from prison camp

Donald Trump once again landed himself in hot water Saturday, this time when he questioned whether former Navy pilot and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is a true war hero.

"I like people who weren't captured," Trump said.

It's a good time to revisit the full story of the 5.5 years McCain spent being held captive and even tortured in North Vietnam, during which guards actually asked him if he wanted to leave early because he was an admiral's son. Here's how it went down when "The Cat," the commander of the prison camps, offered him early release, according to a gripping Arizona Republic profile from 2007:

McCain realized that the Code of Conduct gave him no choice. [Everett] Alvarez, who was being held elsewhere, was supposed to be the first man released.

"I just knew it wasn't the right thing to do," he said. "I knew that they wouldn't have offered it to me if I hadn't been the son of an admiral.

"I just didn't think it was the honorable thing to do."...McCain calmly told The Cat that the prisoners must be released in the order they were captured, starting with Alvarez. [The Arizona Republic]

Trump, who avoided serving in the Vietnam War through four student deferments and one medical one, later tried to clarify his remarks.

"If a person is captured, they're a hero as far as I'm concerned," he said. "I don't like the job John McCain is doing in the Senate because he is not taking care of our veterans."