John McCain broke his silence about Donald Trump's controversial comments on prisoners of war

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McCain Says Trump Brings 'Uncertainty' to Campaign

After months of largely avoiding questions about Donald Trump, Sen. John McCain broke his silence about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's provocative rhetoric that targeted McCain last summer.

Trump ignited a firestorm last July for his criticism of McCain, asserting he was only a war hero "because he was captured."

"I like people that weren't captured," Trump said then.

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John McCain broke his silence about Donald Trump's controversial comments on prisoners of war
A photo taken by a French cameraman in 1967 shows US Navy Airforce Major John McCain lying on a bed in a Hanoi hospital as he was being given medical care for his injuries. John McCain was captured in 1967 at a lake in Hanoi after his Navy warplane was downed by the Northern Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War.
P368426 01: (File Photo) Senator John Mccain Is Pulled Out Of A Hanoi Lake By North Vietnamese Army Soldiers And Civilians October 26, 1967 In Hanoi, North Vietnam. Mccain's A-4E Skyhawk Was Shot Down By A Surface-To-Air Missile. Mccain Broke Both Arms And His Right Knee Upon Ejection And Lost Consciousness Until He Hit The Water. (Photo By Getty Images)
P368426 04: (File Photo) Senator John Mccain In A Hanoi Hospital During The Vietnam War November, 1967. (Photo By Getty Images)
P368426 06: (File Photo) A Statue Commemorating October 26, 1967, The Day Lt. Cmdr. John Mccain Was Captured By The North Vietnamese Army, Stands In Hanoi, North Vietnam. (Photo By Getty Images)
P368426 05: (File Photo) A Mug Shot Of Senator John Mccain As A P.O.W. Taken By The North Vietnamese Sometime Between 1967-73 (Photo By Getty Images)
HANOI, VIET NAM: This file picture taken in 1967 shows US Navy Airforce Major John McCain lying on a bed in a Hanoi hospital as he was being given medical care for his injuries. McCain was captured in 1967 at a lake in Hanoi after his Navy warplane was downed by the Northern Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War. One of his rescuers said 24 February 2000, McCain was well treated after being pulled from the lake by villagers. McCain said that upon capture he was beaten by an angry mob and bayoneted in the groin. (B/W ONLY) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Naval Lt. Commander John S. McCain III, son of the Navy's Commander-in-Chief in Europe and grandson of the Navy's greatest World War II carrier commanders, is show in July, 1967, in Vietnam. (AP Photo)
John McCain walks outside the Hoa Lo prison, nicknamed "The Hanoi Hilton" in Hanoi, Vietman on April 26, 2000 where McCain was kept as a prisoner of war from October 1967 until March 1973. McCain was visiting as Vietnam marked the 25th anniversary of the end of the war. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
John McCain walks inside the Hoa Lo prison, nicknamed "The Hanoi Hilton" in Hanoi, Vietman on April 27, 2000 where McCain was kept as a prisoner of war from October 1967 until March 1973. McCain was visiting as Vietnam marked the 25th anniversary of the end of the war. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., tells his son Jack about his time as a Vietnam war P.O.W. as they look into a prison cell at the Hoa Lo prison, nicknamed "The Hanoi Hilton" by American prisoners, during a visit in this April 26, 2000 file photo. McCain was a P.O.W. from October 1967 to March 1973 and spent 3 years locked in the Hoa Lo. McCain, his wife Cindy, and son were visiting Vietnam as the country prepares to mark the 25th anniversary of the end of the war on April 30. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, is seen during a tour of Hoa Lo Prison site, Hanoi, Vietnam, Wednesday, April 8, 2009. The photo behind McCain is that the Hanoi army and people pull out McCain out of Truc Back Lake on Oct. 26, 1967 after his plane was shot down. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)
Mai Van On gestures to U.S. Senator John McCain, left, on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 1996 while describing how he pulled on McCain's parachute to save him from Hanoi's Truc Bach lake in 1967. McCain, then a U.S. bomber pilot in the Vietnam War, was shot down over Hanoi 29 years ago. (AP Photo/Hong Sam)
John McCain stands next to a monument marking the spot on the banks of Lake Truc Bach in Hanoi, Vietman on April 26, 2000 where McCain was pulled ashore after his plane was shot down in October 1967. McCain was visiting as Vietnam marked the 25th anniversary of the end of the war. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
Lt. Commander John S. McCain III, 30, right, shown in 1967, member of a famous U.S. Navy family and an aircraft carrier pilot, was shot down and captured in Hanoi. His father, John S. McCain Jr., center, is the U.S. Navy's commander in chief in Europe. His granfather, left, Adm. John S. McCain, commanded all U.S. aircraft carriers in the Pacific during World War II. (AP Photo)
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In a CNN interview Sunday, the Arizona senator called on Trump to apologize to former prisoners of war.

"I think it's important for Donald Trump to express his appreciation for veterans," McCain said.

The Arizona Republican, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who spent years in captivity after being shot down during the war, emphasized that the apology should not be about him.

"What he said about me, John McCain, that's fine. I don't require any repair of that," McCain said. "But when he said, 'I don't like people who were captured,' then there's a body of American heroes, and I'd like to see him retract that statement. Not about me, but about the others."

Though McCain said he'd support Trump's presidential bid, he added that Trump's ad-hominem attacks during the campaign bothered him "a lot."

Related: The many faces of Donald Trump:

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John McCain broke his silence about Donald Trump's controversial comments on prisoners of war
FORT WORTH, TX - FEBRUARY 26: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Fort Worth Convention Center on February 26, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. Trump is campaigning in Texas, days ahead of the Super Tuesday primary. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 19, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump reacts during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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"You can almost violently disagree with someone on an issue. But to attack their character and their integrity — those wounds will take a long time to heal," McCain said.

Despite massive blowback from leaders of both parties, Trump has refused to apologize for his comments.

"People that fought hard and weren't captured and went through a lot, they get no credit. Nobody even talks about them. They're like forgotten. And I think that's a shame, if you want to know the truth," Trump said in July.

Despite his endorsement, McCain recently acknowledged privately that Trump's at-times inflammatory statements about immigration and plan to deport the approximately 11 million immigrants living in the US illegally have made his 2016 Senate reelection bid much more difficult.

"If Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket, here in Arizona, with over 30% of the vote being the Hispanic vote, no doubt that this may be the race of my life," McCain said at a private event, according to Politico. "If you listen or watch Hispanic media in the state and in the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I've never seen in 30 years."

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