Former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole said Saturday that Donald Trump needed to apologize to Sen. John McCain for attacking his Vietnam War record — and that Newt Gingrich should be presumptive nominee's running mate.
"One of my best friends, closest two or three friends, is John McCain," Dole, 92, who served in both the Senate and House for 35 years, told Ana Cabrera on CNN
in a telephone interview from his Kansas home. "I am going to try to get Trump to issue an apology.
"John McCain suffered — tortured, broken arm, what do you expect? This young man at the time did everything that you would want a serviceman to do, above and beyond the call of duty.
"That's the one error that I would hope nominee Trump would do, is start toning down his rhetoric," Dole said. "There is nothing wrong with apologizing to the governor of New Mexico or John McCain or anybody who he has insulted."
Trump ripped McCain's military service
last July after the Arizona senator criticized his supporters at a rally in Phoenix.
This past week, the developer also slammed New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez after she snubbed him on a visit to the state for a rally in Albuquerque. She is the nation's only Hispanic female Republican governor.
Trump also should apologize to Jeb Bush, whom Dole supported earlier in the primary race.
"I don't applaud him for the insults," he told Cabrera. "I would like him to issue a blanket apology or individual apologies.
"These people don't deserve that. They are good, strong Republicans.
"That's how we bring the party together. We want to bring the party together to try and reach out to those that you have offended."
But apologies to the many groups that Trump has insulted — Hispanics, Muslims, women — are not necessary, "but they are the right thing to do," he said.
Dole was President Gerald Ford's running mate in the 1976 election — and he lost the 1996 contest to President Bill Clinton.
He told CNN that Trump called him twice since beginning his campaign — most recently last week — and the former senator "put a plug in for Newt Gingrich," he said.
"Donald Trump needs someone who understands Congress, who can help him work with Congress, who understands foreign policy, domestic policy, economic policy — someone like Newt Gingrich."
Gingrich, 72, the former Georgia congressman, was House speaker from 1995 to 1999.
"None of us are perfect, but he is a good fit for Trump," Dole continued. "He can help him in all of those areas, and Trump has to listen.
"You have got to have some people you trust if you are the candidate. They can tell you: 'Donald, you are making a mistake. You shouldn't do this. You shouldn't do this or whatever.'
"Newt and I didn't always get along when we were in Congress, but I have watched Newt the past several months," Dole said. "I believe he would be a real asset."
Close Trump associates recently told Newsmax
that Gingrich topped the real estate developer's list of candidates.
Turning his attention to the Democratic race, he said that front-runner Hillary Clinton "has a lot of baggage.
"While she doesn't admit it, it is there."
Dole said that Bill Clinton was "another problem for Hillary.
"She is advertising that Bill Clinton will be in charge of the economy. The economy is probably the number one problem, if you really get down to it, in the United States.
"People want jobs. They want to find a good-paying job.
"That would help Trump with women, of course," Dole added. "Everybody — Latinos — whoever might not feel kindly towards him now.
"I don't think you can have a shared presidency, even though you trust your wife and I assume she trusts him."
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