McCain Slams Trump: GOP Nom Isn’t Blank Check To ‘Defame’ War Heroes

August 1, 2016 8:47 a.m.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) strongly repudiated on Monday Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on the family of a Muslim-American solider killed in the line of duty in Iraq but stopped short of rescinding his endorsement.

“I claim no moral superiority over Donald Trump. I have a long and well-known public and private record for which I will have to answer at the Final Judgment,” McCain said in the lengthy statement. “I challenge the nominee to set the example for what our country can and should represent.”

“It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party,” McCain said. “While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.”

McCain also mentioned his own military service, recounted Capt. Khan’s sacrificing his life to save his fellow soldiers during a suicide bombing, and directly addressed the Khans to thank them for immigrating to America.

“I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement,” he said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) each distanced themselves from the attacks in statements put out over the weekend, which did not mention Trump but praised Khan’s son for his sacrifice.

Khizr Khan, whose son Humayun S. M. Khan was killed serving the United States, delivered a powerful speech on the final night of the Democratic National Convention where he asked voters to honor his son’s sacrifice by voting for Hillary Clinton. Khan also said Trump has “sacrificed nothing” in the widely praised speech, spurring the attacks from the GOP nominee.

Trump has also attacked McCain for his military service. In July, he said McCain, who was held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years, “is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” McCain has endorsed Trump.

Read McCain’s full statement via NBC News:

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