Donald Trump said in a radio interview on Wednesday that he doesn't regret calling Sen. John McCain, who was captured and held prisoner during the Vietnam War, "not a war hero."
Last July, Trump said of McCain: "He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
Appearing on the Imus in the Morning, Trump was asked if he would apologize to veterans, as McCain has recently requested.
"Well I've actually done that, Don," Trump replied. "You know frankly, I like John McCain, and John McCain is a hero. Also, heroes are people that are, you know, whether they get caught or don't get caught — they're all heroes as far as I'm concerned. And that's the way it should be."
"So do you regret saying that?" asked Imus.
"I don't, you know — I like not to regret anything," Trump said. "You do things and you say things. And what I said, frankly, is what I said. And some people like what I said, if you want to know the truth. There are many people that like what I said. You know after I said that, my poll numbers went up seven points."
"You understand that, I mean, some people liked what I said," added Trump. "I like John McCain, in my eyes John McCain is a hero. John McCain's a good guy."
Imus said someone like Trump, who got multiple Vietnam War draft deferments, shouldn't be criticizing someone like McCain.
"I understand that. Well, I was going to college, I had student deferments. I also got a great lottery number," Trump said.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.