Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sunday said he owed no apology to John McCain for questioning whether McCain deserved to be called a hero given that he was captured.

Trump set off a firestorm on Saturday when he said, "He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured."

Asked about the comments by Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week," Trump said he was unfairly covered by the press.

"People choose [to] use little selective pieces," Trump said and argued that the backlash was being orchestrated by his Republican rivals in the presidential race.

"When I left the room it was a total standing ovation," he said of his performance at an event in Iowa where he made the remarks about McCain. "It was wonderful to see. Nobody was insulted. What happened was later on, the Republican candidates, some of whom are registering 1 percent and zero and they're very upset that I'm leading the polls by actually a nice margin. They're extremely upset."

He argued, "I'm very disappointed in John McCain because the vets are treated horribly in this country. I'm fighting for the vets, I've done a lot for the vets, and in going around on the campaign trail, they're treated like third class citizens, he's done nothing to help the vets, and I will tell you, they are living in hell."

He said, "John McCain has done nothing to help the vets except talk."

Asked about his own history with the Vietnam draft, Trump said he received several deferments and then had a very high draft number, so he was never called.

"I was fortunate in a sense, because I was not a believer in the Vietnam War," he said. "It was another war that was a disaster for this country. Lives and money and it's disgraceful what happened with the Vietnam War."