Donald Trump goes nuclear on John McCain: "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured."

Current GOP poll leader, who received deferments during Vietnam, dings service record of 2008 nominee

Published July 18, 2015 7:18PM (EDT)

Donald Trump                 (Jeff Malet,
Donald Trump (Jeff Malet,

Real estate mogul, reality show host, and all-around clown Donald Trump escalated his war of words with Sen. John McCain on Saturday, questioning the war heroism of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, who was held captive by enemy forces in Vietnam for five and a half years.

Speaking at the conservative Family Leader summit in Iowa, Trump, who leads the most recent polls for the GOP's 2016 presidential nomination, declared that McCain was "not a war hero."

"He's a war hero because he was captured," Trump said. "I like people that weren't captured."

Trump received multiple deferments that allowed him to skirt service in the Vietnam War.

Trump's latest insult -- which drew the wrath of many Republicans, but not Ted Cruz -- comes after McCain slammed Trump in a New Yorker interview this week for "fir[ing] up the crazies" with his anti-immigrant rhetoric. Trump responded to McCain's barb in typical Trump fashion:

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By Salon Staff

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2016 Elections Donald Trump John Mccain R-ariz. Republicans Ted Cruz Vietnam War