(CNSNews.com) – Republican pollster Frank Luntz told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comment about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) not being a war hero, demonstrates that he does not appreciate the “significance” of being a prisoner of war (POW).
“That exchange suggested that he really doesn't appreciate the significance of being a POW and what that means in American society,” said Luntz.
Speaking to Luntz, who moderated the Iowa Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, where Trump spoke on Saturday, Trump said he didn’t like McCain much after he lost in the presidential race to President Barack Obama.
Luntz said McCain was “a war hero,” to which Trump responded: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero, cause he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, okay? I hate to tell you. He’s a war hero because he was captured, okay?”
When host John Dickerson asked whether Trump’s comments about McCain represented “a turning point” for the Trump campaign, Luntz said, “It will be a turning point depending on what he does over the next 24 hours.
“I’ve already had the opportunity to reach out to two separate veterans’ organizations - one of them a POW organization – and they’ve told me that they believe that this will be significant,” he said.
“The idea of distinguishing veterans who were captured vs. those that weren't is offensive to them, and they feel that Donald Trump owes John McCain an apology,” Luntz said.
“This is a big deal, because it demonstrates character. It demonstrates judgment,” he said.
“Up until this point, that exchange was because I was asking him questions about the words that he was using and whether they were proper for a presidential candidate, but that exchange suggested that he really doesn't appreciate the significance of being a POW and what that means in American society,” Luntz said.