(CNSNews.com) - Does Donald Trump owe Sen. John McCain an apology?
"No, I don't think so," the Arizona Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday morning. "But I think he may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who've undergone the prison experience in serving their country."
(People like John McCain, in other words.)
McCain quoted Trump as saying he prefers to be with people who have not been captured.
"Well, the great honor of my life, it was to serve in the company of heroes -- I'm not a hero -- but those who were my senior ranking officers -- people like Col. Bud Day, Congressional Medal of Honor winner (and McCain's fellow POW) -- those who inspired us to do things that we otherwise wouldn't have been capable of doing -- and those are the people that I think he owes an apology to."
McCain said to denigrate the service of those who "served and sacrificed and happened to be held prisoner" -- is offensive to most veterans.
Asked if was resentful about being criticized by "a guy that didn't serve in Vietnam," McCain said he's put the war behind him.
"To look back in anger at anyone is nonproductive," he said. "I've worked ever since to try to heal those wounds. I spend time with veterans, I do everything I can to help them. As you know, there are major scandals going on. I had two pieces of legislation to try to help that issue, lower the suicide rate that is so high. The best thing to do is put it behind us and move forward and just express our gratitude to those who have served and sacrificed.
"Who are the real heroes?" McCain asked. "They're the 55,000 names that are down on the Mall, engraved in black granite, that I stop by sometimes early in the morning and when the sun's going down." He said on the Fourth of July this year, he was there with some of the men and women who served in Afghanistan, "and I can tell you, they are just wonderful -- better than my generation."
Asked if he regrets calling Trump's admirers "crazies," McCain said he considered it a "term of endearment," given the political diversity in Arizona. McCain noted that he's been called crazy himself.
McCain said it's up to Donald Trump to decide if he should get out of the race -- and he repeated that Trump should "apologize to the families of those who have served."
Asked why someone like is topping recent polls, McCain said it will be "interesting" to see if that trend holds, given Trump's comments about veterans (and McCain). "I've had a flood of calls from our veterans. They are not happy," he said.
As CNSNews.com reported, at a gathering in Iowa on Saturday, Trump complained about McCain calling Trump's admirers "crazies."
"So he insulted me, and he insulted everybody in that room," Trump said. "And I said -- somebody should run against John MCcain -- who has been a, you know, in my opinion, not so hot. And I supported him. I supported him for president. I raised a million dollars for him. That's a lot of money. I supported him.
"He lost, you understand. But, you know, he lost. So I never liked him as much after that, because I don't like losers. So I didn't like him as much after that."
"He is a war hero," Trump conceded when pressed. "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured, okay, I hate to tell you. He's a war hero because he was captured, okay? And I believe, perhaps he's a war hero. But right now, he's said some very bad things about a lot of people."
"Do you owe John McCain an apology?" Martha Raddatz, guest host of ABC's "This Week," asked Trump on Sunday.
"No, not at all," Trump responded.
Trump also blasted McCain for doing "nothing to help the vets."
McCain currently chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. He does not sit on the Veterans Affairs Committee, but he has sponsored and cosponsored legislation affecting veterans over the years, most recently a bill dealing with the VA's mental health and suicide prevention programs.
McCain's official website says, "Senator McCain is committed to getting to the bottom of recent allegations of wrongdoing at the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PVAHCS). His office is ready and able to facilitate communications between whistleblowers and other concerned citizens with relevant congressional committees and the VA Office of the Inspector General."