John McCain took an indirect shot at Trump for his famous deferment during the Vietnam War

  • Sen. John McCain seemed to call out Trump for his medical deferment from the Vietnam War.
  • The senator criticized wealthy Americans who "found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur" — the exact diagnosis Trump received in 1968.
  • Trump famously dismissed McCain's military service in 2015, saying "I like people who weren't captured."

 

Sen. John McCain indirectly rebuked President Donald Trump by criticizing people who dodged the Vietnam War draft.

McCain, a former Navy captain, was talking to C-SPAN about the war when he seemed to call out the president in particular, without mentioning him by name.

"One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur," McCain said in an interview that aired Sunday. 

"That is wrong. That is wrong. If we're going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve."

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LAKE FOREST, CA - AUGUST 16: Presumptive Republican Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) arrives on the stage at the Civil Forum on the Presidency at the Saddleback Church August 16, 2008 in Lake Forest, California. In the first joint appearance of candidates, McCain and presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) participated in a town hall style meeting moderated by the Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, who leads the fourth-largest church in the nation. Each candidate was questioned, separately, about issues of poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights. Neither candidate was allowed to hear the responses of the other. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
CAMDEN, UNITED STATES: GOP presidential hopeful US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) waves during an 'Old Fashion BBQ and Stump Meeting' on the front yard of a supporter's house 08 January 2000 in Camden, South Carolina. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 04: U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) holds up his smart phone to show he is not playing poker before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on a resolution on Syria on Capitol Hill September 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize U.S. President Barack Obama to use limited force against Syria after adopting amendments from U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-NV). (Photo by Mark Wilson/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. John McCain, a current US presidential hopeful, 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)
HANOI, VIET NAM: A photo taken in 1967 shows US Navy Airforce Major John McCain being examined by a Vietnamese doctor. John McCain, current US presidential hopeful, was captured in 1967 at a lake in Hanoi after his Navy warplane was been downed by 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)
HANOI, VIET NAM: A photo taken 26 October 1967 shows US Navy Airforce Major John McCain (C) being rescued from Hanoi's Truc Bach lake by several Hanoi residents after his Navy warplane was downed by 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)
Republican presidential candidate John McCain laughs during a campaign rally in Sarasota, Florida on October 23, 2008. McCain is on a six-stop, one-day 'Joe the Plumber' bus tour across central Florida to meet with small business owners. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
HANOI, VIET NAM - OCTOBER 19: U.S. Senator John McCain (C), R-Ariz., a member of the Senate Select Committee on servicemen listed as missing in action (MIA's) in Southeast Asia, holds up photos of himself, as a 30-year-old man wounded and captured in 1967 in North Vietnam, outside the Army Museum in Hanoi 19 October, 1992. The photos were delivered by Colonel Pham Duc Dai (L), director of the Army Museum and Colonel Tran Bien (R), representative on the MIA issue at the Ministry of Defense as a gift for visiting the museum. (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)
PETERBOROUGH, UNITED STATES: Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is framed by American flags while he talks to supporters in the Peterborough Town House during his 114th and final town hall meeting, his third in the town of Peterborough, New Hampshire, 30 January 2000. Recent polls show Texas Gov. George W. Bush has substantially closed the gap on McCain, who once held a sizeable lead in New Hampshire. AFP PHOTO/ Henny Ray ABRAMS (Photo credit should read HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate John McCain speaks at a campaign rally at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire on October 22, 2008. AFP PHOTO Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 21: Arizona Senator and Republican presidential hopeful John McCain acknowledges the audience prior to the GOP debate 21 November 1999 in Tempe, Arizona. Republican presidential candidates Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, radio commentator Alan Keyes and financier Steve Forbes debated without frontrunner, Texas Governor George W. Bush. (Photo credit should read MIKE FIALA/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: File photo dated 24 June 1992 showing US Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) (L) who received three Purple Hearts while serving in Vietnam and US Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) who was a POW in Vietnam from 1967-73 examine a book containing the names of the 'total unaccounted for' soldiers who served in the Vietnam War. (Photo credit should read ROBERT GIROUX/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI - MAY 20: Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks during a town hall meeting in the Royal Poinciana Ballroom at the Sheraton Mart Hotel May 20, 2008 in Miami, Florida. White House hopeful McCain has disagreed with Democratic rival Barack Obama's stance on Cuba, vowing himself to maintain the US trade embargo until democracy comes to the communist island. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - OCTOBER 25: Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) greets supporters during a campaign rally at the New Mexico State Fair Grounds October 25, 2008 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. McCain's opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is also campaigning Saturday in New Mexico, where he holds a very slim lead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) arrives for the State of the Union address by U.S. President Barack Obama on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
washington, UNITED STATES: TO GO WITH AFP STORY by PETER WUETHERICH - FILES - Lori Watzman, local distributor for presidentialdecks.com, holds some of the 'Aces' from the various decks of political souvenir playing cards 08 June 2007 in Washington, DC. Currently playing cards with (L-R) Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been released. Voters of the Republicans worry that they have not the right candidate to oppose the powerful candidates of the Democrats when the US vote a new President in 2008. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 19: President-elect Barack Obama introduces his former political rival Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) at a bipartisan dinner in the National Building Museum on January 19, 2009 in Washington, DC. Inaugural events continue throughout the city before President-elect Barack Obama is to be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009. (Photo by Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images)
SARASOTA, FL - OCTOBER 23: Republican presidential nominee John McCain holds a campaign rally at the Robarts Arena October 23, 2008 in Sarasota, Florida. With less than two weeks before the November 4 election, McCain is scheduled to campaign in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa over the next four days. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks during the 2008 National Small Business Summit at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, on June 10, 2008 in Washington DC. McCain spoke about the need to curtail ear marks attached to bills as a way to control spending, and said his White House opponent Barack Obama's economic platform would kill jobs and growth, vowing instead to keep big government out of entrepreneurship. AFP PHOTO/TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential hopeful Senator John McCain addresses a press conference in Beverly Hills, California, May 28, 2008. McCain ratcheted up his criticism of Democrat Barack Obama for his stance on Iraq, saying he hasn't been willing to ``listen and learn'' from US commanders and troops on the ground. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Arizona Sen. John McCain greets supporters after making a statement on the economy, at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio on October 27, 2008. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOENIX - MAY 15: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks at the 138th National Rifle Association of America meetings at U.S. Airways Center on May 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The NRA, a longtime supporter of the Republican party, will address concerns over a Democratic government's influence on gun control laws. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gives a thumbs up after speaking at the 2008 National Small Business Summit at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, on June 10, 2008 in Washington DC. McCain spoke about the need to curtail ear marks attached to bills as a way to control spending, and said his White House opponent Barack Obama's economic platform would kill jobs and growth, vowing instead to keep big government out of entrepreneurship. AFP PHOTO/TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate John McCain greets supporters at a midnight campaign rally at Bank United Center in Coral Gables, Florida in the early morning hours on November 3, 2008. McCain wrapped up a frenzied day of campaigning with a midnight rally, insisting he was on course for a US presidential election victory over rival Barack Obama. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
SUN CITY, AZ - AUGUST 25: U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) listens to a question from a person in the audience during a health care a town hall meeting at Grace Bible Church August 25, 2009 in Sun City, Arizona. Several hundred people attended the event to express their thoughts about the health care reform. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
WINDHAM, UNITED STATES: Michelle Hartman, 6, of Salem, New Hampshire, holds up a sign in support of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) during a town hall meeting at Windham Middle School 29 January, 2000 in Windham, New Hampshire. AFP PHOTO/Henny Ray ABRAMS (Photo credit should read HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate John McCain attends a campaign rally at Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on October 28, 2008. AFP PHOTO/Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
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As a recent college graduate in 1968, Trump received a diagnosis of bone spurs in his heels, exempting him from military service just a year before hundreds of thousands of Americans were drafted into the armed forces. 

The deferment received renewed attention during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, particularly during Trump's public feud with the parents of a soldier who was killed in Iraq. Critics claimed Trump had evaded the draft with a questionable diagnosis.

In an interview with The New York Times in 2016, Trump could not provide details about the diagnosis, only saying, "I had a doctor that gave me a letter — a very strong letter on the heels." Trump added that at some point, he was no longer bothered by the condition.

"Over a period of time, it healed up," he told The Times.

McCain has become increasingly vocal in his criticism of Trump. Last week, in a speech at the National Constitution Center, the Arizona senator warned that the US is turning toward "half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems."

The Vietnam War is an especially touchy subject in Trump's relationship with McCain, who as a Navy pilot spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison, where he was tortured. In 2015, Trump said of McCain, "he’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."

NOW WATCH: Roger Stone explains what Trump has in common with Richard Nixon

See Also:

SEE ALSO: McCain says Trump is 'in the business of making money' while he 'was raised to believe in duty, honor, country'

DON'T MISS: Trump gets criticized for a word he used in his initial tweet about Las Vegas

 

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