A University of Nebraska-Omaha political science professor says Republican Donald Trump is getting a lesson in presidential politics.
During a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa, Troup dismissed fellow-Republican John McCain’s war record, declaring that the United States Senator from Arizona wasn’t a war hero because he served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, adding, “I like people that weren’t captured.”
The statement has caused an uproar and has been denounced by Trump’s fellow Republican presidential candidates.
UNO Political Science Professor Randall Adkins calls it politics at its best.
“This was part of a public conversation that was going on between Trump and McCain that was occurring and where Trump was really being asked a question about something McCain had responded to,” Adkins says. “Clearly what he does here is he makes a gaffe. It’s something he says in passing. It’s almost the kind of thing you don’t mean to do because you’re just sort of thinking out loud. After he made the gaffe he and his campaign ‘double down’ on it, trying to make an argument that McCain hasn’t done enough for veterans and this whole thing is really McCain’s fault.”
Adkins says part of the fallout of Trump’s statement will have people talking about his own service during the Vietnam War – which is none. He says that is something Trump really doesn’t want people talking about right now.
Adkins this time before the Iowa Caucus is when candidates should be spreading their message by talking to small groups. He believes Trump is trying to bypass that process and jump right into the debates using his name recognition.
Adkins says when it comes right down to it, “he really has to be much more careful about what he says.”