Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie defended President Donald Trump’s past disparagement of the late Sen. John McCain’s war service and prisoners of war in general, claiming that it was all just “politics” and the “heat of the campaign.” Wilkie took issue with the bombshell report in The Atlantic that alleges Trump called fallen war heroes “losers” and “suckers,” saying the story’s anonymous sources “brought you fake heart attacks and fake strokes.” He was then pressed by CNN host Dana Bash on Trump’s very public denigration of McCain. “Do you understand why people might find the details of these stories we’re hearing now believable?” Bash asked. Wilkie said he “was a friend with John McCain” but understood this to be “name-calling” coming “from both sides,” prompting Bash to note that Trump was insulting all prisoners of war with his comments. “Is that acceptable?” she pushed back. “Well, it’s politics. It’s the heat of a campaign,” Wilkie replied, adding that he “absolutely” felt McCain was a war hero.
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