South Carolina Senator and Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham quickly jumped to the defense of John McCain this weekend after Donald Trump went on this rant in Iowa.
“He hit me,” Trump said of McCain, who was held as a prisoner-of-war for more than five years in Vietnam.
The event’s host interjected: “He’s a war hero.”
Trump responded: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero ’cause he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, I hate to tell you.”
That drew some applause and some groans from the audience at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. Graham got his turn on stage a few hours after Trump.
“John McCain and every other POW deserves our respect and our admiration,” Graham said.
Nearly all the other GOP candidates denounced Trump’s remarks. Some are calling on Trump to apologize, but not Graham. Graham said “democracy” will take care of it.
“The good people of Iowa, the good of New Hampshire and the good people of South Carolina are going to figure this out and here’s what I think they’re going to say: ‘Donald Trump, you’re fired,'” Graham said, to applause.
Author and pollster Frank Luntz questioned Graham and the other nine candidates who participated in Saturday’s event. Graham grew emotional when Luntz asked what he might say to his late parents if they were sitting in the audience.
“They would see that their son is a United States senator and a candidate for president of the United States,” Luntz said. “What would you tell them?” Graham cleared his throat, then said, his voice breaking with emotion: “That Darlene turned out really good.”
The crowd responded with applause and a few cheers. Graham continued: “And I’ve tried hard and thanks to you I’ve come a long way.”
Luntz interjected: “I know they can hear you.”
Graham finished with this: “Love is not the size of the house, it’s what happens inside of the house. I was well loved.”
Graham, like all the other candidates, got a standing ovation at the end of his remarks. He also got a standing ovation in the middle of his appearance, as he promised to press Hillary Clinton for more answers about the deaths at the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
“Why did your people say five times no to additional security?” Graham asked, as the crowd stood on its feel applauding and cheering. “And why did you and Susan Rice lie to the American people about how they died?”
Graham will be in New York City today for a town hall-style meeting with John McCain and former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, to launch what Graham calls his “No Nukes for Iran” tour.
Article by Kay Henderson of Iowa Radio Network.