Republican Sen. John McCain warned Donald Trump on Monday that his feud with the Muslim father of a slain U.S. Army captain is putting him on even shakier ground with Republican voters, and Trump needs to set a much better example if he hopes to win GOP votes.
"Arizona is watching," McCain warned in a statement. "It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country, and the future of the Republican Party. While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us."
Trump has been fighting over Twitter with Khizr Khan, who lost his son in 2004 in Iraq. Khan attacked Trump at last week's Democratic convention, which has led to a back and forth between the two over the weekend.
Khan appeared on cable news shows, including CNN on Monday, when he slammed Trump's "ignorance and arrogance." Trump has said he agrees Khan's son is a hero, and on Monday complained that he is being attacked when the country should be focused on how to fight radical Islamic terrorism.
But McCain said Trump's behavior needs to stop attacking the Khans.
"In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier's parents. He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service," McCain said. "I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump's statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates."
McCain, who has also been a target of Trump's attacks, said he was "morally bound to speak only to the things that command my allegiance," and would not keep quiet "simply because it may benefit others with whom I disagree."
"Lastly, I'd like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America," McCain, a former Navy pilot and 2012 GOP presidential presidential nominee, said in conclusion. "We're a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation – and he will never be forgotten."