Trump jumps far into lead in Republican race

2015-07-21 09:04
Donald Trump (Jae C. Hong, AFP)

Donald Trump (Jae C. Hong, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - White House hopeful Donald Trump jumped far into the lead in the race for the 2016 Republican nomination, a poll showed on Monday, despite a backlash over his comments disparaging immigrants and US war hero John McCain.

The hotel magnate was the favourite for 24% of Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters, the highest percentage and widest lead so far in the campaign, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

He far outpaced his rivals Scott Walker (13%) and Jeb Bush (12%). The next seven had support ranging from eight to three percent.

But the survey was conducted from Thursday to Sunday, and the Post said most of the participants were interviewed before Trump lambasted McCain on Saturday.

Trump's popularity among those questioned dropped significantly after that latest outburst, the Post said.

McCain demands apology

But the first official Republican presidential debate is not due until August, with primaries and caucuses for the party's presidential nomination taking place next year. So polls could shift significantly in the meantime.

McCain said Trump should apologise to veterans after he dismissed the US senator's military record because he was taken prisoner during the Vietnam War.

Trump sparked outrage over the weekend when he suggested that a serviceman who was captured could not be a real hero, in reference to McCain's time in a Vietnamese prison.

'Offensive to veterans'

Many politicians rallied to McCain's defence, but the defeated former presidential candidate downplayed the attack on his own record, while defending fellow veterans.

"Those who inspired us to do things that we otherwise wouldn't have been capable of doing, those are the people that I think he owes an apology to," McCain told MSNBC television.

The senator, an influential Republican foreign policy hawk, said it was wrong to call into question someone's military record because they were captured.

"I think the point here is that there are so many men and some women who served and sacrificed and happened to be held prisoner and somehow to denigrate that in anyway, their service, I think is offensive to most of our veterans," he said.

McCain was responding for the first time since the notoriously outspoken Trump's astonishing attack.

The 78-year-old decorated aviator was shot down, captured, tortured and spent five years in a prison camp during the Vietnam War.

"He's not a war hero," Trump told a political gathering in Iowa on Saturday. "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK?"

Trump claims unfair media portrayal

Trump is known for his off-the-cuff and provocative statements, but his outburst targeting McCain sparked a firestorm of bipartisan condemnation.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, a Democrat who also served during the Vietnam War, lashed out at the comment, as did former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Republican.

For his part, Trump again refused to back down from his remarks, saying he has been unfairly portrayed by the media.

"The media has done such a false number as usual," Trump told NBC.

Trump said the press had not presented his quotes in context, stressing that he said McCain was a war hero numerous times and insisting he was attacking his post-war political record.

"Well I'm not a fan of John McCain, he's done a terrible job for the vets," Trump said.

The eccentric billionaire's remarks have sparked controversy before, in particular with attacks on Mexican immigrants that offended many of the voters that Republicans will need to court before next year's race.

But his brash style is also part of his appeal.

Read more on:    republicans  |  john mccain  |  donald trump  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.