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Donald Trump said that John McCain was not a hero. Yes, he was captured, but Trump said he likes people who weren’t captured. But he totally missed the point. Yes, it was brave to fly bombing missions through anti-aircraft fire. It was even brave to pilot a jet, in the first place. But the reason McCain became a hero was not that he was captured, or even that he was tortured for years. It was his reaction to it.

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To Trump, winners are people who know the tricks—who “win” by forcing others to lose. To Trump, courage doesn’t matter, as noted in Business Insider.

Trump argued that McCain. . .was not a real war hero.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” . . .

The real-estate mogul also said that he didn’t like McCain after his loss to President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

“I never liked him after that, because I don’t like losers,” Trump said. . .

McCain’s plane was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. He spent five years in a prisoner-of-war camp, where he was tortured. . .

As Politico points out, Trump was granted multiple student draft deferments during the course of the Vietnam War.

The Smoking Gun shows the deferments.

McCain noted it, in an interview with the BBC.

“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest-income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur,” he said. . .

Mr Trump received five military deferments during the 1960s – four for academic reasons and one for bone spurs, or calcium build-up in the heels.

During his presidential campaign, he could not recall which heel had been affected and later said the issue had been “temporary” and “minor.”

The real sign of McCain’s heroism is that he could have been released, but refused.

McCain’s survival through years of near-fatal torture and hardship in a Hanoi prison, better known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” was made more impressive by his refusal to be repatriated before all of the American POWs captured before him were released.

Military Times expanded on it.

. . .imprisonment in Vietnam’s infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison.

That occured in 1967, when then Lt. Cmdr. McCain’s Skyhawk aircraft was shot down during a bombing mission over Hanoi. He fractured both arms and a leg while ejecting from the plane, and he was refused proper medical treatment by North Vietnamese troops after his capture.

In 1968, after his father was named commander of U.S. Pacific forces, the North Vietnamese offered to release his son as part of a propaganda campaign. The younger McCain refused, saying he would only leave if his fellow POWs were also freed.

As a result, McCain spent five and a half years in captivity, facing frequent beatings and torture for his refusals to cooperate with his captors. The assaults left him unable to fully lift his arms for the rest of his life. . .[and he required] years of physical therapy.

Trump was not alone in his criticism of McCain as war hero. He was joined by Liberation News during the 2016 campaign.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has generated a lot of press, and criticism from other candidates, for his claim that Senator John McCain was not a “war hero.” As it happens, Trump was partially right, but he didn’t go far enough. Not only is John McCain not a war hero, he is in fact a war criminal. . .

Bombing a light-bulb factory, a civilian target, is a war crime. McCain, obviously, didn’t select the target, he was just following orders, but that doesn’t exonerate him any more than any other soldier who follows an illegal order. . .

McCain, and the entire U.S. political and military establishment, also supported the wholesale bombing of Iraq’s water purification plants during the first Gulf War. And this was no ordinary war crime, it was a planned genocide. . .

But, at the moment, he is the only one for whom the entire ruling class, with the lone exception of Donald Trump, is rushing to assure the American public that he was a war hero, before the truth gets more closely examined.

It’s unusual for an American President to be aligned with the Liberation News.

One thing you can say for Trump, though. He’s consistent. When McCain died, he didn’t cry fake crocodile tears for the man he obviously hated. His statement said nothing at all about McCain, just said it’s kinda too bad for McCain’s family.

By contrast, other living presidents remembered McCain with high praise and respect..

Former President Barack Obama said in a statement: “John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher — the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed.”

The Democratic 44th president defeated McCain in the 2008 presidential race, but Obama noted Saturday that both he and McCain “saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world.”

Former President George W. Bush, who outran McCain in a contentious primary battle to become the GOP presidential nominee in 2000, lauded the senator as “a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order.”

“Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled,” the 43rd president said in a statement.

“He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I’ll deeply miss.”

Former President Bill Clinton said in a statement that McCain was “a skilled, tough politician, as well as a trusted colleague” whom former secretary of state and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton “was honored” to serve alongside in Congress.

“He frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country, and was never afraid to break the mold if it was the right thing to do,” the 42nd president said.

Jimmy Carter also spoke up.

Former President Jimmy Carter celebrated the uniquely American life and legacy of John McCain Saturday night, describing the late Arizona senator as “a man of honor (and) a true patriot in the best sense of the word.”. . .

“Americans will be forever grateful for his heroic military service and for his steadfast integrity as a member of the United States Senate,” the 93-year-old former president said.“ Rosalynn and I extend our sincere condolences to Senator McCain’s family and to the people of Arizona whom he represented so forthrightly for so many years.”

And the Weekly Standard said McCain was the kind of man the Founders had in mind.

He was, indeed, a national hero.

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Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.

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