Gregory Wallance is a lawyer and author who has written a wonderful essay for The Hill in which he declares it’s time for Donald J. Trump to say he’s sorry for defaming John McCain.
What’s more, according to Wallance, Trump defamed an entire corps of warriors who served their country with honor and valor in precisely the manner that McCain did.
Sen. McCain, an Arizona Republican, has been diagnosed with brain cancer. His prognosis is not yet known to the world, although my sense is that doctors have given the McCain family a full briefing.
The point is that Sen. McCain served more than five years as a Vietnam War prisoner. He was shot down in 1967 over a Hanoi lake. He suffered broken limbs after he ejected from his stricken jet. The North Vietnamese who captured him stuck a bayonet in his abdomen. He was tortured, beaten and berated by his captors.
He was offered an early release. The communists thought they would win points by releasing the son of a senior Navy officer. The young aviator refused, and was subjected to more torture.
What did then-candidate Trump say about McCain’s service during a war that Trump managed to avoid? He said McCain was a “hero only because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
No one on Earth thinks Trump has it in what passes for a heart to say he’s sorry for defaming a valiant and gallant war hero. Gregory Wallance, though, has offered a stirring account of why such an apology should be made to honor all the individuals who endured the kind of wartime misery inflicted on John McCain.
Wallance writes: “In the decades after World War II, when more than 120,000 Americans had been POWs, insulting a former POW the way Trump did would have ended any politician’s career.”
Wallance writes about the raid conducted on Japan immediately after Pearl Harbor, about how Col. Jimmy Doolittle and his fellow Army aviators took off from the USS Hornet aboard land-based B-25 bombers. Their mission was fraught with peril from the get-go. They struck targets in Japan. Many of the men were captured by the enemy.
“American servicemen and women become POWs because they are serving their country in harm’s way,” Wallance writes.
He doesn’t expect Trump to apologize. He wants the country to salute those who served their nation and paid a heavy price because they fell into enemy hands.
I join in that salute. Fruitless as it is, though, I also demand that Donald Trump apologize for the hideous insult he leveled at a true American hero.