Over the weekend, the 69-year-old presidential hopeful made headlines when he said that the Arizona Senator and former Republican presidential nominee, who famously spent five and a half years in a POW camp during the Vietnam War after being shot down in enemy territory, is "not a war hero."
"He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured," the outspoken politician added while speaking at a Family Leadership Summit in Iowa.
A number of Trump's competitors quickly criticized the real estate tycoon, who also took part in a heated interview with Today's Matt Lauer on Monday. Most recently, the business magnate appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, where he backtracked and said he does believe McCain is a war hero, although he continued to criticize his approach to veteran affairs.
"I'm making the rounds all over the country and I see how badly our veterans are being treated. And he's the guy—I mean he's supposed to be doing it. I see him on television all the time and he's always talking, talking but nothing gets done. These veterans are living in hell…if I become president the veterans will be treated properly."
Noting that Trump decided to make things "personal" when he "got into his [McCain's] war record," O'Reilly said "And I think you would admit here tonight that was a mistake because John McCain is a war hero and you know that."
"But I haven't said anything different," Trump insisted.
"Come on, Donald, the way you said it was incorrect," O'Reilly said.
Asked to clarify yet again whether he believes McCain is a war hero, Trump replied, "I do. And by the way, I said it, I actually said it four times."
Erik Pendzich/REX USA
"I have respect for Senator McCain. I used to like him a lot," he added later in the interview. "I supported him, I raised a lot of money for his campaign against President Obama. And certainly if there was a misunderstanding, I would totally take that back, but hopefully I said it correctly and certainly, shortly there after I said it correctly."
Meanwhile, in the wake of Trump's comments, Piers Morgan has penned an op-ed for the Mail Online in which he says that Trump is winning due to his "point blank refusal to apologize to anyone for anything."
"Every other politician, business leader or celebrity I know would have immediately, shame-facedly backtracked after he outrageously suggested that all Mexican illegal immigrants were ‘rapists'. Not Trump," Morgan writes. "Instead, he doubled-down on his comments, swiftly turned them into a wider national debate on the undeniably important issue of illegal immigration in the United States, and insisted he'd win the Latino vote at the election.
"You don't have to agree with him to recognize that this was a master-class in how to turn a potentially overwhelming, campaign-ending negative into a vote-winning positive."