Former POW says Trump’s words are unforgivable

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SAN DIEGO - Donald Trump’s controversial comments about John McCain and prisoners of war outraged a longtime Poway resident – a former World War II POW.

Over the weekend, the real estate mogul sparked a firestorm when he suggested Senator McCain, who spent five and a half years in a North Vietnamese prison, is only considered a war hero because he was caught.

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured," Trump said. "I like people who weren’t captured.”

Joel Sollender

Joel Sollender

The comments were quickly condemned by the Republican National Committee and virtually the entire 2016 presidential field.

The billionaire has refused to apologize for his comments, but even if he did, former prisoner of war Joel Sollender of Poway says Trump’s words are unforgivable.

"He has never suffered anything," said Sollender, 90-year-old WWII veteran and former German camp POW. “You don’t know what freedom is until you lose it."

As a young Army scout, Sollender was captured by the Germans on Dec. 11, 1944. He was held in a prison camp in Limburg, Germany in indescribable conditions for 4 months.  He was finally liberated in April of 1945 only to be recaptured by the Russians.

For Sollender, Trumps comments are unfathomable and are an indicator of what kind of president he would be.

"Is this how he feels about the people he might be sending to war? That might be captured, that they’re not heroic? I can’t believe it and would that be the end of his career? I would certainly hope so because money can’t buy everything,” Sollender said.

Sollender is writing a book about his POW experience.

McCain said he is not owed an apology, but feels Trump owes an apology to members of the military and former POWs.


  • Think about what Trump is saying...

    Is there a difference between a “deliberate” hero that jumps on a hand grenade to sacrifice himself and an officer flying a plane, trying to avoid getting shot down and “incidentally” getting hot down and captured? I would think so. I am not saying Mccain would not have jumped on a hand grenade but he did not deliberately sacrifice himself.

  • What Trump is saying...

    A different way of looking at the Hero definition. By explaining issues at the extreme it helps some understand where the middle is. For others it scandalizes. For others it radicalizes them. To understand what Trump is saying you need to use your own head and not your initial hearts reaction. At the extreme Trump is right.

  • Ignacio Sanchez

    What’s unforgivable is McCain pretending he’s a conservative republican. The sham has gotta end. He capitulates to idiotic liberal policies every chance he gets.

    OK, he was a POW. Fine. He’s still a horrible political representative and a big part of what’s wrong with Congress.

  • Joey

    Cant stand Mccain as a politician. But think anyone who serves their country is a hero. F Trump and his funky hair…..he has zero chance of being elected.

  • Ron

    GOP field caters to trailer trash inbreds.

    They are going to lose for sure thanks to Trump.

    Hillary will be your commander in chief until 2024, thanks to that entitled dumbass!

  • Robert deburn

    Trump said nothing to or about this man, and he said nothing about any other veterans, you people have to look past your nose and read about McCain and all his shady dealings in the past.

  • marian1877

    McCain may be a veteran but he has not stood up for them while serving in congress. That is why Donald Trump is going after McCain. McCain needs to be replaced an someone else who would serve for Veteran should be put in his place.

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