Weeks after his comments likening Mexican immigrants to criminals and rapists, which sparked a massive backlash, Donald Trump once again finds himself caught in a controversy after insinuating Sen. John McCain and other prisoners of war are only heroes because they were captured.
"I like people that weren't captured," Trump said during an appearance in Iowa on Saturday.
By belittling the service of veterans, Trump offends one of the most universally respected groups in American life, according to Rob Shepardson, co-founder of advertising and political consulting firm SS+K.
"It's pretty obvious in politics you don't do anything against veterans," the strategist behind two Obama presidential campaigns said. "For reasonable people, it's an embarrassment to be associated with." (Tweet This)
Even Trump's home city of New York continued to distance itself from him after his latest comments. Mayor Bill de Blasio called on Trump to apologize and emphasized that "Donald Trump doesn't represent the views of the people of this city." Councilman Mark Levine, who also chairs the Committee on Parks and Recreation, petitioned to cancel all of Trump's contracts with city parks.
The renewed push follows action taken by Macy's, Univision and NBC Universal to cut their respective associations with Trump after his disparaging remarks toward Mexican immigrants. Now, Shepardson believes more companies could follow suit.
"Veteran-led organizations may well not go to his hotels and resorts," he said. "But you see more activism from corporations on social issues today and there are a lot of veterans in corporate suites if one wanted to take stand."
Verizon, led by CEO Lowell McAdam, a former Navy engineer, would be one likely company. The Military Times named Verizon the best employer for veterans just months ago—even besting defense companies and USAA. The company, however, declined to comment on the matter. Trump has been working to bring Verizon's services to all of his properties.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has long been a proud proponent of hiring veterans as well. The co-author of "For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice," pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and their spouses in the coming years. The company, which has a few stores inside Trump locations, did not respond to requests for comment.
Outside of any renewed business impact, Trump has similarly yet to feel any backlash at the polls. He came in second place among likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday, indicating no significant loss after his comments about McCain's military service. But Shepardson believes too much emphasis is being put on early numbers.
"It's a fallacy to think that polls at this stage matter," he said. "Reasonable voters will reject both his racism and his unpatriotic statements."
Trump has not apologized for his remarks about McCain and Mexican immigrants, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.