DeWITT — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the president’s criticism Wednesday of the late Senator John McCain may’ve been inappropriate but Grassley doesn’t think President Trump needs to apologize.

Grassley was asked about the president saying McCain had pushed for a war, failed America’s veterans, and Trump complained he wasn’t thanked for how the Arizona Republican’s funeral was handled.  Grassley says, “I would think that it would be best to let a person that has served his country, like John McCain has, to respect that service and not criticize somebody who’s passed away.”

Following a town hall meeting in DeWitt, Grassley simply said “no” when asked if Trump should apologize to the McCain family for his negative comments. When pressed for elaboration, Grassley said, “You better ask the president that.”  “You’re asking me all of these things about Trump and you’re asking me about apologizing and all that, you know, I’m a member of the United States Congress,” Grassley says. “We don’t spend much time in Congress worrying about what the president says. We’ve got our own work.”

Grassley says it makes him “irritated” when he’s asked to respond to something — like a comment from the president — which he doesn’t know anything about.  “I don’t want to comment on what you tell me somebody else said. I want to comment on what I read, if I’m going to comment on it,” Grassley says. “But I’d rather comment on stuff I’m doing as chairman of the Finance Committee, what I’m doing on Government Oversight, what I’m doing as a member of an individual branch of government.”

Grassley says his committee priorities include trade deals with Canada and Mexico and getting drug prescription prices down. McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017 and died last August. Trump and McCain had long been rivals. Speaking in Ames during the presidential campaign in 2015, Trump said of McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” McCain served in the U-S Navy. His plane was shot down in Vietnam in 1967, he was captured, held prisoner and tortured for more than five years.