Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy MORE (R-Ariz.) took what appeared to be a swipe at President Trump during an interview about the Vietnam War on Sunday, criticizing how upper-income Americans were able to obtain a draft deferment for having a "bone spur".
"To abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of global leadership for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems", he said, "is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other exhausted dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history". He received four more deferments during the war to finish his education.
McCain stepped back onto the rhetorical battlefield with Trump earlier this week, criticizing "half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems".
Trump famously dismissed McCain's military service in 2015, saying "I like people who weren't captured".
In an interview broadcast Sunday on C-SPAN, McCain spoke on the 50 anniversary of his being shot down over North Vietnam - an event that led to his capture by communist forces and a five-and-a-half-year stay in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison.
In contrast, McCain, a naval aviator, flew almost two dozen missions during the Vietnam War. After receiving his diploma, he was again eligible for the draft.
McCain never mentions Trump by name in the interview, but the President's deferment because of a bone spur is widely known and the President's family was well off at the time.
"Over a period of time, it healed up", he said.
Trump has had strained relationship with McCain over the years.
There were also strong words from former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
It's not the first time things have gotten heated between the pair.
"He was a war hero because he was captured, " Trump said during the campaign.
And Bush, speaking at a forum put on by his the George W. Bush Institute, decried that in America today "Bigotry seems emboldened".