Sen. Richard Durbin on Sunday said Sen. John McCain handled President Trump’s past comments that Mr. McCain was a war hero because “he was captured” with understated class.
“The president has disrespected many people, but when he disrespected John McCain and the other prisoners of war it was a moment I’ll never forget,” Mr. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Mr. Trump had said during the summer of 2015 that Mr. McCain, who was held captive in Vietnam for more than five years, was a war hero because he was captured.
“I like people that weren’t captured, OK?” Mr. Trump said then. “He’s a war hero because he was captured, OK?”
Mr. Durbin said Mr. McCain handled those comments with “such class.”
“He could have roared back at this president and turned the veterans of the United States against the president, but he was very quiet about it,” he said. “And I think he knew that the enduring legacy of his service to our country, along with so many of our other veterans, was going to prevail over those harsh and nasty words from President Trump.”
Mr. McCain later said he didn’t care about getting an apology from the president, but that Mr. Trump should consider apologizing to the families of people who have been in similar situations.
Mr. Durbin had been asked what it signified to him that Mr. Trump likely won’t be a part of the formal tributes to Mr. McCain, who died at the age of 81 on Saturday after a yearlong battle with cancer.
Mr. Trump expressed his condolences to Mr. McCain’s family via Twitter on Saturday, and the White House flags have been lowered to half-staff in honor of Mr. McCain.
But the New York Times reported earlier this year that people close to Mr. McCain have been telling the White House the plan is for Vice President Mike Pence, but not Mr. Trump, to attend the senator’s funeral at Washington National Cathedral.
The late senator has also reportedly requested that President Obama and President George W. Bush deliver eulogies at the funeral. Mr. McCain’s body will also lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol and the U.S. Capitol before he is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.