Over the weekend, presidential candidate Donald Trump dominated the news and stirred up controversy for his remarks made at the Family Leadership Summit about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) status as a war hero. Trump mentioned that McCain's "not a war hero." And then said "he's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK?"
Understandably, many attacked Trump for his remarks, including those in his own party. Fellow GOP primary nominee Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, issued a statement calling on Trump to "immediately apologize" and, with original emphasis, said, "His attack on veterans make him unfit to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, and he should immediately withdraw from the race for President."
While Trump did not apologize, he did attempt to clarify that he wanted to highlight those servicemen who were not captured and did not receive the same war hero status.
"People that fought hard and weren't captured and went through a lot, they get no credit," he said. "Nobody even talks about them. They're like forgotten, and I think that's a shame, if you want to know the truth."
Trump also does not think that McCain has done enough to help veterans.
"I'm very disappointed in John McCain because the vets are horribly treated in this country," he added. "I'm fighting for the vets. I've done a lot for the vets."
Now, such remarks are more understandable and may be legitimate criticisms. Why couldn't Donald Trump have said just that? Why did he need to get so unnecessarily heated and offensive? Any legitimate points Trump may have made about veterans will now go unheeded and ignored. If Trump really cared about veterans more than himself, he wouldn't feel the need to make such attention-getting remarks.
Trump has made similarly outrageous statements before, including about illegal immigrants from Mexico. He did say "some, I assume, are good people," but naturally that point was mostly lost. Even if one were to agree with Trump about the problems of illegal immigration, surely there are better ways to communicate that. And, if Trump phrased his statements in a more normal way from the start, people wouldn't be constantly calling on him to apologize.
The answer as to why Trump may feel the need to make such outrageous statements may lie in his own remarks on forgiveness and Communion. At the summit, moderator Frank Lutz asked Trump if he had ever sought God's forgiveness, and Trump responded "I'm not sure I have ever asked God's forgiveness. I don't bring God into that picture."
He mentioned Communion in his clarification when he said "When I go to church and when I drink my little wine and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of forgiveness. I do that as often as I can because I feel cleansed. I say let's go on and let's make it right."
What tragic statements. Here is a man who can't even humble himself before God to ask forgiveness, and his statements seem to suggest that he may go for Communion as just something to do, without thinking about it until he is prompted to with such a question.
I feel sad for Trump then in a sense. I'm in no way defending him, but I find it sad that Donald Trump, who is made and loved by God just like the rest of us, clearly has a problem with pride and humility. We ought to pray for him, just as we ought to pray for our servicemen and women who are war heroes simply because they served, regardless as to if they have been captured or tortured, or who their father is. We also ought to pray for a country that encourages Donald Trump by allowing him to surge in the polls. Humility is not always easy. In fact, it rarely is, especially when one's heart may be so hardened. Nevertheless, I pray that Donald Trump is able to find the humility to ask for forgiveness, and find peace in his life from it.