Sunday, July 19, 2015

What Donald Trump Actually Said About John McCain And Why He Said It

One of the worst offenses in American politics is quoting a politician out of context. One comes to expect politicians to quote their opponents out of context for political expediency. We should hold the media, however, to a much higher standard and be able to turn to them to set the record straight when that happens. I'm not a particularly big fan of Donald Trump, and I don't support his presidential campaign. The truth of the matter is, though, that he is being vilified for saying something about Sen. John McCain he never said. Trump has been making a lot of off-the-cuff statements as of late ala Robert Redford's character Bill McKay in the 1972 classic movie, The Candidate, to grab headlines. And it's been working for him. The latest polls show him near the top of the crowded Republican pack, if not slightly ahead of Jeb Bush.

So Trump goes out to McCain's home state of Arizona last weekend and draws a huge crowd of 15,000 Arizonans anxious to hear what he has to say. Trump, who supported McCain's 2008 presidential bid and helped raise about a million dollars for him, criticized him for being soft on illegal immigration. McCain fired back after Trump's appearance in his home state that he had "fired up the crazies," a pretty insulting and harsh comment to make about a lot of people, including members of his own party, in his home state. The war of words between the two escalated as the week progressed with Trump referring to McCain as a "dummy" for insulting the people who attended his Phoenix rally as a bunch of "crazies."

At an appearance in Iowa at week's end, Trump was asked at a Family Leadership Summit moderated by political pollster Frank Lutz about referring to a war hero like McCain as a "dummy." Trump tried to put his comment about McCain in context, which arguably justified his use of the word "dummy" to describe a sitting U.S. Senator paint his own constituents with such a negative, broad brush. "But he's a war hero," Luntz replied. Here's how Trump responded:
“He is a war hero.” 
“He’s a war hero because he was captured.” 
"I like people that weren't captured." "Okay, I hate to tell you." 
“He’s a war hero, because he was captured.” 
“I believe, perhaps, he’s a war hero. But right now, he’s said some very bad things about a lot of people.”
Almost every news media report I've read has given the impression Trump said McCain is not a war hero. He said no such thing. He emphasized why he had been characterized as a war hero, which is factually correct. It's his POW status, not his actual military service that won him war hero status. Trump even acknowledged he's a war hero; he just doesn't think we should get carried away with exaggerating who he is. But if a lie gets repeated often enough, it becomes the truth. So anyone not paying any attention to what Trump really said in Iowa would believe he said something he never said about McCain.

One of the points Trump did not bring up, which I think is quite relevant to this discussion, is the uncivil like manner in which McCain has increasingly treated anyone with whom he has political disagreements. I've been perplexed and very disillusioned by McCain's treatment of his fellow Vietnam War veterans and their families who have demanded answers about unaccounted for MIAs and POWs as he once was. Not only has he shown great insensitivity towards these Americans by insulting them and questioning their motives, he has gone to great lengths to use his position in the Senate to block the release of any information that would help them get answers to questions about their missing relatives.

Aside from his overt efforts to block the families of veterans from getting answers about their lost loved ones, McCain's own POW story can be told in a different light that paints him as anything but a war hero. His critics point out that McCain was not tortured while in captivity like other POWs; his injuries were caused by the initial shoot down of the Air Force plane he piloted over North Vietnam during bombing runs. His North Vietnamese communist captors derisively referred to him as the "Songbird" because of his willingness from the moment of his capture to provide information sought by his interrogators. McCain made dozens of propaganda films for the North Vietnamese, which included harsh statements about the American enemy the North Vietnamese were fighting. The video below is just one example of the deep-seated contempt many of his fellow veterans hold towards him, who consider him anything but a war hero.

About a year ago, even mainstream, conservative columnist  George Will came around to admitting the American people had been lied to for decades about the Vietnam War and, in particular, the fact that Watergate might never have happened had President Richard Nixon not been obsessed about covering up the role of him and his chief emissary, Henry Kissinger, in sabotaging President Johnson's peace talks between the North and South Vietnamese, an act of treason by the future president and Kissinger:
. . . The treason came in 1968 as the Vietnam War reached a critical turning point. President Lyndon Johnson was desperate for a truce between North and South Vietnam.
LBJ had an ulterior motive: his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, was in a tight presidential race against Richard Nixon. With demonstrators in the streets, Humphrey desperately needed a cease-fire to get him into the White House.
Johnson had it all but wrapped it. With a combination of gentle and iron-fisted persuasion, he forced the leaders of South Vietnam into an all-but-final agreement with the North. A cease-fire was imminent, and Humphrey’s election seemed assured.
But at the last minute, the South Vietnamese pulled out. LBJ suspected Nixon had intervened to stop them from signing a peace treaty.
In the Price of Power (1983), Seymour Hersh revealed Henry Kissinger---then Johnson’s advisor on Vietnam peace talks---secretly alerted Nixon’s staff that a truce was imminent.
According to Hersh, Nixon “was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government [of South Vietnam] making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different views on peace negotiations.”
Johnson was livid. He even called the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, to complain that “they oughtn’t be doing this. This is treason.”
“I know,” was Dirksen’s feeble reply.
Johnson blasted Nixon about this on November 3, just prior to the election. As Robert Parry of has written: “when Johnson confronted Nixon with evidence of the peace-talk sabotage, Nixon insisted on his innocence but acknowledged that he knew what was at stake.”
Said Nixon: “My, I would never do anything to encourage….Saigon not to come to the table….Good God, we’ve got to get them to Paris or you can’t have peace.”
But South Vietnamese President General Theiu---a notorious drug and gun runner---did boycott Johnson’s Paris peace talks. With the war still raging, Nixon claimed a narrow victory over Humphrey. He then made Kissinger his own national security advisor.
In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.
But in 1973, Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement he helped sabotage in 1968.
No fewer than 20,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam and more than 100,000 were wounded in the ensuing years following the treasonous actions of Nixon and Kissinger. This is how Sen. McCain reacted to protesters at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing who called for Kissinger's arrest as a war criminal when he was called, along with other former secretaries of state, to testify before the Senate. Watch as McCain refers to them as "low-life scums," while defending the treasonous Kissinger as someone who had served his country with "the greatest distinction". Kissinger actually won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for ending a war he had actually covertly helped prolong:


Anonymous said...

Trump's full response can be heard here:

Anonymous said...

Trump absolutely infers McCain’s not a real war hero, or some second class war hero, when you hear the audio, the inflection of his voice, no denying it, when Trump got deferment after deferment and shouldn’t even open his damn mouth on such a subject. Which one would you rather have as commander in chief, coordinating with our Governors on National Guard issues and directing Homeland Security. I voted for McCain for President because we were at war and he had an amazing, proud military background. He’s too old to be President now but I will always respect the man, who by now has been throughly vetted. Trump. I admire Trump’s business acumen and brash personal style, but I’d never vote for him for President, and I think he ought to shut his fracking mouth about McCain, who to me is and will always be an actual war hero, has the silver star and purple heart. Trump’s fifteen minutes are up now that he’s humiliated himself. I like the guy, or maybe I should say I”m amused by the guy, but we’ve wasted enough time talking about his political aspirations, and I don’t want him anywhere near a war room. Pence ordering Nat. Guard to arm themselves is the first smart thing Pence has done in months. I was beginning to think he was nothing but a tired old preacher. Dangerous times ahead.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Gary. Thank you for all the time you invested presenting information serious readers are sure to enjoy as have I, something Hoosiers will rarely ever find on most Hoosier broadcasts and in most Hoosier hard print media.

John McCain seems more and more a complete embarrassment to the State of Arizona, to the U.S. Senate, and quite frankly to any substantial truthful discourse. The next time Mr. McCain brags how he "walked across the aisle" to work with the liberal Democrats I truly wish he would just stay there; it's where he belongs politically. What is it about these congenital megalomaniac career Establishment and Liberal partisans who cast anyone with a different viewpoint as "crazies", "wacko-birds", and "extremists"? Locally, the mayor of Carmel derides just about any opposition as "fringe candidates".

And as for Mr. John "Songbird" McCain, I believe he was far less the soldier full of valor and strength he presents himself to be and the historical facts justify tat belief.

Like you, Gary, I am not a Trump supporter but the truth is Mr. Trump has more than once and all very recently been misquoted and misreported. What Mr. Trump said regarding Mexico and the thousands of illegal aliens crossing our border and what Mr. Trump said about Songbird was the truth. As George Orwell warned, "“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”

Now that I am politically awake in my mature years, I am not surprised by the devious nature of our politicians and high level "advisors" like Kissinger or any of Obama's unelected leftist liberal czars. I look back at the Viet Nam war again through your report and am again convinced it is the politicians of the US Congress, the US House, and even White House temporary tenants who have the blood of thousands of men and women on their hands. We see it today in the Middle East... where the Middle East is the new Viet Nam.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon. 11:32, both Presidents Clinton and Obama never served in the military and have not shied away from defining who is a war hero and who is not. Any American has a right to hold an opinion on who they view as a war hero. Frankly, it's hard to find heroes in wars our country never should have been fighting. That doesn't make the people who fought in those wars bad people; they were just following orders and believed (often mistakenly) that their leaders had the best interests of the nation and its soldiers in mind when it decided to launch those wars. Nothing could be further from the truth for just about every war we've been involved since World War II. John McCain goes around being nasty to people and picking fights all the time and when someone fights back against him, he flashes his "war hero" card. I'm over it, and I'm over with those who let him get by with it. I've still not forgotten his indignant reaction when people pointed out that the Syrian rebels he supports and was photographed with during a trip there were actually the villains now committing so many atrocities there, in Iraq and elsewhere. He also didn't show much character after he came back from Vietnam and kicked the wife who raised his kids and stood by waiting for his return to the curb as soon as he got home so he could go marry a much younger, wealthy woman whose family influence he used to help bankroll his political career.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about McCain's character. This is about Trump's hypocrisy. It is settled that John McCain is a war hero. Nobody with any credibility contests the fact of it. This is about somebody with five deferments thinking he has the right to smirk and question the quality of the war hero's valor. You may opine about his right to speak his mind and yes, this is a free country, and he has a constitutional right to stand up on his soapbox. But I find his statements repulsive. And I personally don't believe a man who lacks military experience has the right to smirk about the accomplishments of a man who went all in for his country. He may have the constitutional right. But he doesn't have the moral right. Standing side by side, Trump is a coward who fled military service with every deferment his father could buy him. McCain served and paid a price. I am one man. I speak with one voice only. I think Trump should shut up. I think he owes McCain an apology. And I think he has disqualified himself in the eyes of many, including me, to be commander in chief. I grew up in a military family. I supported men's decisions to run to Canada. But that doesn't give them the moral right to question to valor of the men who served and paid with legs and such. Every Republican candidate has denounced Trump. His campaign is over.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:32, allow me to wait on your table and give you a tip: Others "imply" and individuals reading or hearing the work\ds of the others "infer" an idea or a point or a concept. Permit me to dumb down the concept to make this grammatical rule comprehensible to just about anyone using Lisa Simpson's advice for an easy way to remember the difference: "You imply, I infer".

Eric Morris said...

Gary, at some point those of us who were just following orders become complicit and the Nuremberg Defense of just following orders doesn't hack it anymore. I'd definitely say anyone currently joining or re-enlisting should be fully aware they are just doing the Banskster's bidding as Marine Corps Maj Gen and two Medal of Honor winner Smedley Butler stated in "War is a Racket" so long ago. Getting shot down over Vietnam or blown up by IED in the Middle East does not make one a hero.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Gary... I so much enjoy your blog; I also like the points you raise in your replies to the commenters. I am moved to inform you that I am never ever disappointed by you regarding either. Keep up the great work!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon. 1:12, There is nothing in Trump's comments that can be interpreted as questioning his valor. What I saw was a man irritated by the moderator shoving the "war hero" meme in his face when his original criticism of McCain had nothing to do with his military service. Other Vietnam vets have not been nearly as generous in their assessment of McCain. Some people think Christopher Kyle was a war hero. Jesse Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, didn't think the same of him. Some people might think Kyle, supposedly the greatest sniper to serve in the American military, was a dummy for getting involved in providing firearms training to a guy other people knew had a few screws loose and getting himself shot and killed. They're opinions. I may not agree with them, and you might not agree with them. We don't limit opinions to those who served in the military. McCain has made so many insane comments the past few years that I don't know where to begin. The media is just playing gotcha with Trump on this one. I don't care for the guy, but I'm also not going to allow myself to be played by the media.

Flogger said...

I was in a Combat Infantry Unit in Vietnam (draftee type) 1970-71. Words cannot express to readers the vast damage we inflicted in S.E. Asia, bombs, Agent Orange etc. There was also the psychological damage inflicted there on the Asians. I will leave it at this we took an Oath of Loyalty to the USA, but not an Oath of Celibacy. We had a draft but many avoided the War via deferments. I cannot think of single Major League Professional Athlete of the era that was drafted. Of course Ali was hounded and vilified for his refusal to step forward. The Press Corps of that era did not ask why all these other athletes were not called up. I came back to the USA in the Anti-War Camp. I learned a lesson in Vietnam that military might does not necessarily solve a problem.

Now we have this damn Warrior Cult, which McCain seems bent on propagating.
Trump's comments are being aired and hashed and rehashed. However, no mention in McMega-Media here in the USA of Jeb Bush's advisors: Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense under George W Bush, Kristen Silverberg, stationed in Baghdad in 2003 as adviser to Paul Bremer, Stephen Hadley, national security adviser to George W Bush, and Paula Dobriansky, undersecretary of state for global affairs under George W Bush, Michael Hayden, former NSA and CIA director, John Hannah, national security adviser to Dick Cheney,

I suppose one point on McCain should be made was his part in the Keating Five Scandal. This was a part of the Savings and Loan Scandal - bailout. Classic Republicrat's going to bat for Crony-Capitalism. The Savings and Loan Scandal also caught Neil Bush in the net.

Anonymous said...

What about this business of Trump saying he “likes the ones who weren’t captured”. Don’t you find that an odd, almost flippant thing to say, insensitive to the experiences of the larger POW/MIA community? Because I was taken aback by it. It just immediately smacked of arrogance, as if we care any more what Trump likes than what Kim Kardashian likes. They’re entertainers. Not Presidential contenders. Not any longer. Not after that. So lets see what the veterans are saying about it.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs just condemned Trump's criticism: "Donald Trump's attacks against Senator McCain today are the height of arrogance and reveal that he has no understanding of what our Vietnam POWs endured and the honor they displayed during their captivity—Senator McCain among them.”

“For someone who never served a day in uniform to criticize the service and sacrifice of a combat-wounded veteran is despicable,” said John W. Stroud, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The Department of Veterans Affairs criticizing Trump for his harmless comment about McCain is more than the pot calling the kettle black. It's an embarrassment and disgrace how shabby our veterans have been treated by that government agency. Their mistreatment of veterans is unforgivable.

Anonymous said...

The DC crony crowd, (lobbyist)Democrats and Republicans are going to defame Trump at every turn, they can't buy his influence like all the rest, their scared shiftless, if he becomes President they will lose much of their power in the oval office, it won't be bidness as usual!! We all know the lobbyist run the Country now!!

Anonymous said...

McCain was a POW for 5 years. Trump would have crapped his pants
within 5 minutes after being captured. Oh that's right, Trump
weaseled out of any military service.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:28

McCain dimed on his fellow POW's to get medical attention, this comes from those who were in the same camp as McCain. Everyone needs to look at the statements from his fellow POW's to find out what kinda guy he really was.
While your at it read how he pulled a stupid stunt on the USS. Forestal and wet started his plane,(screwing around), setting off a missile on the plane behind him.

The Navy released John McCain’s military record after a Freedom of Information Act request from the Associated Press. The record is packed with information on McCain’s medals and commendations but little else. The one thing that the McCain campaign does not want to see released is the record of McCain’s antics on board the USS Forestal in 1967. McCain was personally responsible for the deadliest fire in the history of the US Navy. That catastrophe, with 27 dead and over 100 wounded trumps McCain’s record as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

WMR has learned additional details regarding the deadly fire aboard the Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal, on July 19, 1967 in the Gulf of Tonkin. The additional details point to then-Lt. Commander John McCain playing more of a role in triggering the fire and explosions than previously reported.

Anonymous said...

WMR has been informed that crewmen aboard the Forrestal have provided additional information about the Forrestal incident. It is believed by many crewmen and those who have investigated the case that McCain deliberately “wet-started” his A-4E to shake up the guy in the plane behind his A-4. “Wet-starts”, done either deliberately or accidentally, shoot a large flame from the tail of the aircraft.

In McCain’s case, the “wet-start” apparently “cooked off” and launched the Zuni rocket from the rear F-4 that touched off the explosions and massive fire. The F-4 pilot was reportedly killed in the conflagration. “Wet starting” was apparently a common practice among young “hot-dog” pilots.

McCain was quickly transferred to the USS Oriskany (the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred). Three months later, McCain was shot down over North Vietnam on October 26, 1967.

As WMR previously reported, at the time of the Forrestal disaster, McCain’s father, Admiral John McCain, Jr., was Commander-in-Chief of US Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR) and was busy covering up the details of the deadly and pre-meditated June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the NSA spy ship, the USS Liberty.

The fact that both McCains were involved in two incidents just weeks apart that resulted in a total death count of 168 on the Forrestal and the Liberty, with an additional injury count of 234 on both ships (with a number of them later dying from their wounds) with an accompanying classified paper trail inside the Pentagon, may be all that was needed to hold a Sword of Damocles over the head of the “family honor”-oriented McCain by the neo-cons.

WMR has also been informed by knowledgeable sources, including an ex-Navy A-4 pilot, the “wet-start game” was a common occurrence. However, it is between “very unlikely” and “impossible” for the Forrestal “wet start” to have been accidental. “Wet starts” were later rendered impossible by automated

Anonymous said...

John McCain was training in his AD-6 Skyraider on an overcast Texas morning in 1960 when he slammed into Corpus Christi Bay and sheared the skin off his plane's wings.

McCain recounted the accident decades later in his autobiography. "The engine quit while I was practicing landings," he wrote. But an investigation board at the Naval Aviation Safety Center found no evidence of engine failure.

The 23-year-old junior lieutenant wasn't paying attention and erred in using "a power setting too low to maintain level flight in a turn," investigators concluded.

The crash was one of three early in McCain's aviation career in which his flying skills and judgment were faulted or questioned by Navy officials.

Anonymous said...

Go read these articles about John McCain and John Kerry the the POW's of the Vietnam war, how they covered up remaining live prisoners of war!!!

Anonymous said...

According to a new IRS documents discovered by government watchdog group Judicial Watch, “retired” former Obama IRS head of exempt organizations, Lois Lerner, was pressured by both Democrat Senator Carl Levin and Republican Senator John McCain to rein in political advocacy groups.

In May 2013, Judicial Watch reveals an email communications which show coordination between Lerner, Sen. Levin and Sen. McCain:

A May 1, 2013, email exchange between Lois Lerner and other top IRS staffers revealed that 11 days prior to Lerner’s admission in a ABA meeting that the IRS had “inappropriately” targeted conservative groups, she met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.” Among those attending the meeting were key aides to the committee minority ranking member, John McCain:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 10:26 AM — Lois Lerner to Nikole Flax and others:

Yesterday’s marathon went well thanks to “the village.” Glad to have all of you as part of that village.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 12:23 PM – Sinno Suzanne [IRS Legislative Counsel] to Lerner and others:

I also took notes so I can compare and make sure we captured everything.

The staffers are below.

Laura Stuber (Majority Senior Counsel)

Elise Bean (Majority Staff Director and Majority Chief Counsel)

Kaye Meier (Senior Counsel for Senator Levin)

Henry Kerner (Minority Staff Director and Minority Chief Counsel)

Stephanie Hall (Minority Counsel)

Scott Wittmann (Minority Research Assistant)

Lerner, part of what has repeatedly claimed to be the “most transparent administration in history,” twice refused to testify before Congress, even though she publicly admitted politically targeting groups based upon search terms like “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in the groups names.

Anonymous said...

I think Trump knows McCain and who he really is!

McCain is a POS and has screwed many lives including our valued service members!

Anonymous said...

More lies about the scum: John McCain===================================================

Anonymous said...

Gary, you seem genuinely surprised that the Republican party would destroy the Donald. Why you're surprised I do not know. He must be destroyed so that they can move forward and accomplish the mission, which of course is to advance a Milquetoast candidate who believes in nothing greater than holding power for the sake of holding power. There are no conservatives left int he Republican party. Trump understands this and has hit a vein, even though he isn't the guy to move any of this forward.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I'm not surprised by the Republican Party's take on Trump. My criticism is directed at the media.

Anonymous said...

What Trump was doing while McCain was a prisoner of war: