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Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Sunday responded to Donald Trump’s controversial comments about Sen. John McCain’s military service, saying that “we’re seeing the real Donald Trump now.”
“We’re seeing an individual who’s more interested in throwing invectives and this hyperbolic rhetoric out there, rather than laying out solutions,” the former Texas governor told Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Trump, who in the past has referred to McCain as a “dummy,” was asked to defend those comments Saturday at the conservative Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa.
“Is that appropriate in running for president?” asked the summit's host, Frank Luntz. Lutz, a prominent pollster, later said, "He's a war hero."
Trump apparently disagreed. “He’s not a war hero,” he responded. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
Perry on Sunday slammed Trump's comments.
“It matters that we have a commander in chief that respects what those individuals have done,” Perry said, referring to veterans. “I still stand by my statement. Until Mr. Trump apologizes directly to John McCain, and also to the veterans of this country, I don’t think he has the character or the temperament to hold the highest position in this country.”
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., also appearing on “Meet the Press,” said he disagreed with Trump’s comments on McCain and said the fellow senator is “a great American.”
“I would recommend that he apologize and retract them, and then get back to the campaign that he’s been running on,” Cotton said.
Trump, when asked Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week" if he would apologize to McCain, said, “No, not at all.” He later said, “When I left the room, it was a total standing ovation. It was wonderful to see. Nobody was insulted.”
McCain has yet to publicly address the comments.
Perry on Sunday also discussed the possibility of facing Trump in the upcoming Republican presidential debates. When asked if he would advocate for Trump getting kicked off the debate stage, he said he would let the debate organizers decide that.
“I’m real comfortable being on the stage with him and confronting him on a host of issues that he’s just wrong on. I mean, there’s one thing to just spew invectives and spew rhetoric out there. But America’s looking for somebody that’s got some solutions,” Perry said. “And I’ll be real honest with you, I haven’t heard any solutions coming from Donald Trump. Just rhetoric.”