Tags: Donald Trump | John McCain | Al Franken | Donald Trump | John McCain | hero | comedian

Spokesman: Franken Was Just Joking About McCain's Capture

Image: Spokesman: Franken Was Just Joking About McCain's Capture
(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 20 Jul 2015 05:20 PM

Fifteen years ago, when Al Franken was still a comedian, not a senator, he said he didn't "buy the war hero thing" when it came to Sen. John McCain, as "anybody can be captured."

But now that Franken is serving as Minnesota's Democratic senator, Donald Trump's defenders are looking back at his comments, and they're not laughing.

"It was a joke," Michael Dale-Stein, Franken's spokesman told Politico Monday, "one that Sen. Franken told Sen. McCain when he was a guest on Sen. Franken’s radio show in 2004, during which he also called Sen. McCain a 'hero with tremendous political courage.'"

Franken also wrote in a Salon essay about the 2000 elections that he doubted he could "cross the line and vote Republican. I have tremendous respect for McCain but I don’t buy the war hero thing. Anybody can be captured. I thought the idea was to capture them. As far as I’m concerned, he sat out the war."

The former "Saturday Night Live" star did not become a senator until 2008, when he won election in a hotly contested race, but his words are being compared to those uttered by Trump in a Christian forum on Saturday, when he said "he’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."

Trump has refused to apologize, instead doubling down and attacking McCain on his record on veterans' issues and immigration.

Meanwhile, pundits such as MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough seized on Franken's comments, saying that Trump was saying essentially what the liberal Democrat had already said years ago, and that the comments were made by a man "obviously very interested in politics, who had his eye set on the United States Senate."

"Al Franken in 2000 was starting to prepare to run for office, I mean obviously he had his eye set on office," Scarborough said. "Then he went on Air America. He was becoming politicized."

Story continues below video.


Further, said Scarborough, "he didn't say this on the stage of 'Saturday Night Live,' he said this in a magazine and article specifically pointed at him assessing the 2000 Republican field."

While there is "no comparison" in stature between Trump and Franken, added Scarborough, "I'm just saying people that are running around with their hair set on fire need to have as a footnote there is a sitting senator in the United States who said the same identical thing, in fact, something a bit more offensive."

But, Scarborough continued, "you just wonder how two people say the same exact thing and when one person says it, it's the most offensive, horrifying, disqualifying thing ever. He must immediately set himself on fire and exit stage left.... [I]f we're talking about how offensive the words are, then the words are offensive on both sides."

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Fifteen years ago, when Al Franken was still a comedian, not a senator, he said he didn't "buy the war hero thing" when it came to Sen. John McCain, as "anybody can be captured."
Al Franken, Donald Trump, John McCain, hero, comedian
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2015-20-20
Monday, 20 Jul 2015 05:20 PM
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