Gov. Paul LePage, apparently taking a page from Donald Trump’s campaign playbook, made critical comments about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during his news conference Wednesday in Augusta.

The governor criticized McCain for getting divorced from his first wife after he returned home from six years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. McCain, a Navy pilot in the war, was shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese Army in 1967 and was held prisoner and tortured until 1973, when he was released.

LePage brought up McCain after discussing his respect for the “Great Generation,” which fought in World War II, and his belief that declining faith in the nation will make it difficult for Americans to prosper in the future.

“John McCain, he spent his time in Vietnam,” LePage said. “He had a lovely wife here who held everything together. When he got released, he dumped her. I mean, that’s not the Great Generation. So he’s got skeletons in his closet. We all do.”

A McCain spokesperson did not respond Wednesday night to a request for comment on the governor’s remarks.

“I’m not perfect,” LePage continued. “I don’t claim to be perfect. I don’t want to be perfect, because guess what? The only person who has ever been perfect in the history of mankind was crucified by the government.”


LePage is divorced from his first wife, and he never served in the U.S. armed forces. He is commander in chief for the Maine National Guard by virtue of his election as governor.

Many Americans have deep respect for McCain because of his personal sacrifices, and he carried the Republican banner in the presidential election of 2008, losing to Barack Obama.

But Trump has made numerous derogatory statements about the Arizona senator, dating to July 2015, when he belittled McCain’s war experiences at a conservative group forum in Iowa.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in an appearance at the Family Leadership Summit. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Trump also has sniped at McCain for allegedly failing to do enough for veterans.

McCain, who is running for a sixth term in the Senate, had supported Trump’s presidential bid until last week, when he withdrew his endorsement after Trump’s lewd comments about women surfaced.

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