Donald J. Trump refused to apologize on Sunday for ridiculing Senator John McCain's war record in Vietnam and accused Mr. McCain of stoking outrage, even as Mr. Trump's comments continued to draw anger and calls from some Republicans for him to quit the 2016 presidential race.
"I always believe in apologizing if you've done something wrong, but if you read my statement, you'll see I said nothing wrong," Mr. Trump said in an interview, referring to his comments at a candidates forum in Iowa on Saturday, which he insists were taken out of context.
Responding to a question about Mr. McCain's military service Mr. Trump said of the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam: "He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
On Sunday, Mr. Trump also accused Mr. McCain of "working the phones real hard" and then "saying we have no comment."
"He's played this game for a long time," Mr. Trump said. And while pointing out that he had also called Mr. McCain "a hero" on Saturday, Mr. Trump questioned the Arizona senator's integrity, noting his involvement in the 1980s savings and loan scandal.
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"He had the Keating Five, a tremendous scandal," said Mr. Trump, who has been targeting Mr. McCain since the senator said Mr. Trump had "fired up the crazies" at a rally in Phoenix last week.
In a separate, if just as discursive, interview Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Mr. Trump faulted some of his rivals for creating the tempest, attacked Mr. McCain for not doing more to help veterans, and claimed that the service of American military veterans who were not prisoners of war was not recognized.
"People that fought hard and weren't captured and went through a lot, they get no credit," Mr. Trump said on the network. "Nobody even talks about them. They're, like, forgotten."
Asked if he would withdraw from the race, Mr. Trump said, "I'm certainly not pulling out."