McCain defends Trump over PTSD controversy
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMan acquitted over tweet offering 0 to killing an ICE agent Lessons of the Kamala Harris campaign Overnight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases MORE is defending Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE's recent comments about veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), arguing the media is misrepresenting his remarks.  

The Arizona Republican — who is up for reelection — said the fallout from Trump's speech before a veterans group is a "classic example of the media feeding frenzy."
 
"The bias that is in the media,” McCain told the Arizona Daily Star's editorial board on Tuesday. “What he is saying is that some people, for whatever reason, and we really don’t understand why, suffer from PTSD, and others don’t.”
 
Trump thanked McCain on Wednesday for his "kind remarks on the important issue of PTSD and the dishonest media." 
ADVERTISEMENT

The Republican presidential nominee, was asked by a former Marine at a Monday event whether he would take a “holistic” approach, including the assimilation of faith-based Christian programs, in assisting veterans who return from war with PTSD. 

“Look, we need that so badly, and when you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat and they see maybe what people in this room have seen many times over — and you’re strong and you can handle it — but a lot of people can’t handle it and they see horror stories," he said in response to the question.
 
Democrats and pundits pounced on Trump's speech, arguing the GOP nominee suggested veterans who suffer from PTSD are weak.
 
Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Doctors are dying by suicide every day and we are not talking about it Impeachment trial throws curveball into 2020 race MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday tried to link the businessman's remarks to stalled legislation that would bolster the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), arguing Republicans left Washington early "to campaign for Donald Trump, who thinks veterans with PTSD are not ‘strong’ and 'can’t' handle it." The Senate left Washington until after the election last week, even though it was formally scheduled to be in town until Oct. 7.
 
McCain, who was captured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, noted that some soldiers returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan "suffer from PTSD."  
 
“I know people who have suffered from PTSD,” he said. “I never have. I have never had a flashback. I never had a bad memory; I never had anything but the greatest gratitude for the honor of serving in the company of heroes.”
 
McCain's defense of Trump comes as Democrats have rushed to link vulnerable GOP incumbents to the businessman, who they hope will negatively impact down-ballot races. Democrats need to pick up five seats — or four if they also retain the White House — to win back the Senate majority.
 
The Arizona senator stressed to the Arizona Daily Star that he is willing to disagree with his party's nominee, including when Trump criticized his POW status last year, saying, "I like people who weren’t captured.”
 
 
“Instead of standing up for our veterans, McCain chose to stand up for Trump — proving that he will literally say or do anything to cling onto his 33-year Washington career," she told the Arizona Daly Star. 
 
McCain is leading Kirkpatrick by more than 13 percentage points, according to a RealClearPolitics average of poling. 
 
Updated 5:45 p.m.