Donald Trump left no doubts at Saturday's Iowa Family Leadership Summit: He was there to speak his mind on immigration, President Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain, and many other topics, politically correct or not.
He used the forum to escalate his feud with McCain, denying that the former prisoner of war should be considered a hero and referred to McCain as a 'loser."
"He’s not a war hero," Trump said. "He’s a war hero because he was captured? I like people who weren’t captured. ... Perhaps he is a war hero, but right now, he said some very bad things about a lot of people."
McCain was a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War who was shot down and held for more than five years in North Vietnam's "Hanoi Hilton" prison, where he was repeatedly tortured.
Trump said he avoided service in the Vietnam War through at least 4 student and medical deferments, adding that he did not serve because he "was not a big fan of the Vietnam war. I wasn't a protester, but the Vietnam war was a disaster for our country."
Trump also referred to McCain as a '"loser."
McCain, said Trump, "is not so hot," and "I supported him for president. I raised $1 million for him. He lost, he let us down. He lost. I have never liked him as much after that."
He also refused to apologize for calling McCain "a dummy" earlier this week for slamming his supporters, saying he doesn't think that his words are inappropriate from a person running for president.
"I'm in Phoenix, we have a meeting that is going to have 500 people," said Trump. "We get a call from the hotel. Turmoil. Thousands and thousands of people are showing up in three or four days. The hotel says, we cannot handle this.'"
Eventually 15,000 people showed up, said Trump, "wonderful, great Americans," and McCain "called them all crazy. They were not crazies. They were great Americans...I know all about crazies. He insulted me and he insulted everybody in that room."
A spokesman for McCain, Brian Rogers, said no comment when asked about Trumps remarks, the Associated Press reports.
Trump made it clear that he wouldn't pull his punches for anyone.
"We are so politically correct that we cannot move anymore," Trump told moderator Frank Luntz, who reminded the real estate magnate to watch his language he was using in front of the evangelical audience attending the Iowa event.
Reaction was swift as rivals who had thus far failed to take on Trump blasted the real estate mogul on Twitter. In an even more unusual move, the Republican National Committee weighed in with a statement condemning Trump.
RNC Chief Strategist and Communications Director Sean Spicer released a statement hours later:
"Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period. There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”
His fellow candidates and the Republican National Committee quickly moved to isolate Trump for his attacks on McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee.
"His comments have reached a new low in American politics," said former Texas Governor Rick Perry in a statement calling for Trump to "apologize immediately."
"His attacks on veterans make him unfit to be Commander-in- Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, and he should immediately withdraw from the race for president," added Perry, a former Air Force captain.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee managed to flash a sense of humor along with a well placed barb.