Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are in a new war of words — over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
McCain was one of the earliest targets in Trump’s campaign. At July’s Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, Trump insisted that the Vietnam veteran held as a prisoner of war and tortured at the Hanoi Hilton for more than five years is “not a war hero.”
“He was a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said then. “I like people who weren’t captured.”
Other presidential contenders — including McCain’s best friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — and the Republican National Committee dumped on Trump for the comments at the time.
This morning on CNN, Bush acknowledged that he called Trump “a jerk, probably shouldn’t have done that.”
“But he’s called people far worse than that,” Jeb continued. “When you call John McCain a loser because you got caught and you’re in the POW camp, that is just outrageous. Or when you mock the disabled, can you imagine the president of the United States doing what he did as a candidate? It would be devastating for our country.”
“People are hurting. People are struggling. More than half the people are living paycheck to paycheck. And to have a president that pushes people down the way he does to make himself look good would be an absolute disaster, I think.”
On MSNBC, Trump said he “never called John McCain a loser.”
“I like John McCain. He’s a nice guy,” Trump added.
“Here is the story on Jeb. He is a stiff who you wouldn’t hire in private enterprise. This is a stiff. This is a guy that, if he came looking for a job, you’d say no thank you. And that’s the way it is…. But he’s got to go around and stop lying because I never called John McCain a loser. Really, really sad when you have to say that.”
Jeb then took the argument to Trump’s favorite campaign ground, Twitter:
.@realDonaldTrump, you aren’t just a loser, you are a liar and a whiner. John McCain is a hero. Over and out.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) February 8, 2016