Donald Trump seems to have as many problems with Matt Lauer as he does with John McCain after the TV personality questioned Trump's comments about McCain not being a war hero.
The Republican presidential candidate lashed out at Lauer and his co-host, Savannah Guthrie, during the "Today Show" Monday morning, accusing Lauer and the rest of the media of twisting his words about McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years.
"You misrepresent, just like everyone else," Trump told Lauer.
Trump continued to slam Lauer, saying the "Today Show" host was distorting his words by not reading the rest of the comments he made Saturday. Lauer, however, said he and Guthrie had read the entire exchange.
"But then if you go on, Matt — see, that's what you don't do — and excuse me, Matt, because you're the media and you do the same thing. The next sentence was 'he is a war hero.' I said that, but they never want to play it. And you don't want to play it," Trump said.
Lauer explained his disbelief over Trump's comments by speaking of his past trip with McCain to the prison in Vietnam where the senator was held and tortured for more than five years.
"I will tell you, it had a profound effect on me. Whether I have a political disagreement with him or a personal dispute, I could never ever question his heroism during that war," Lauer said.
Trump cited an article written by Sharyl Attkisson in which the author reported Trump saying four times that he thought McCain was a war hero. But he said that heroism was not relevant to policy decisions McCain has made as senator.
"Savannah started it off by saying I said he wasn't a war hero," Trump said. "If you would have let it run another three seconds you would have said — that I said he is a war hero. I have no problem with that. What I do have problems with is he called 15,000 people that showed up for me to speak in Phoenix — he called them crazies because they want to stop illegal immigration. They were insulted. They were great Americans."
He added that he was "not a fan" of McCain, who was first elected to the Senate in 1986.
"John McCain has done a horrible job. The [Department of Veterans Affairs] is a scandalous, corrupt organization. It's a disgrace, the way it's being run, and the veterans of this country are suffering.
"I do have a problem with what he is doing on the border — he's terrible. And I do have a problem with the illegal immigration is a disaster and he's doing a horrible job for the vets. ... I see the vets, they come to me. These are powerful, wonderful people and they're crying," Trump said.
As Trump's segment of the show ended, Guthrie jumped in to reiterate that the entire clip of Trump's comments about McCain had been played.
"And even when he said, 'Oh he is a war hero,' that's when he immediately followed it up with 'but I prefer people that weren't captured.'... Luckily, there was a camera there, it was all captured, people can see what they think."