Donald Trump leading in latest poll, Reuters

Trump courts controversy in launch of White House bid
Trump courts controversy in launch of White House bid

Donald Trump continues to stir up controversy and it seems to be working. The latest online Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Trump leading the pack of possible 2016 Republican Presidential candidates.

Of the 16 Republican hopefuls, Donald Trump has the support of 25.7% of voters polled, with Jeb Bush following with 24.3%.

At a campaign rally in South Carolina on Tuesday, Trump continued to defend his recent remarks about the war record of U.S. Senator John McCain.

Asked if he stood by his statement that Senator McCain, a former prisoner in North Vietnam, was only considered a war hero because he was captured, Trump said, “I think it was very, very accurate. I think it was very accurate and you see many of these people are veterans. I love them and we’re going to straighten it out because they’re living in hell right now,” Trump told reporters.

McCain continued to play down the personal attack on Tuesday, and said he did not want to “reopen the wounds of war.”

“When this whole issue just came up, obviously I have been engaged in, I do not want to reopen the wounds of the war. I want us to celebrate our veterans, to move forward and those who may have opposed the war, or those who may whatever it is, it’s over. Our Vietnam veterans deserve not to have that fight begin again.”

Other Republican hopefuls, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush defended McCain, calling him a hero for his service in the U.S. military.

Trump, a real estate mogul and television personality, has angered democrats too with the recent dust-up.

New York City mayor Bill De Blasio, a Democrat, said Trump’s comments were “unacceptable” and said Trump should apologize.

“Donald Trump doesn’t represent the views of the people of this city, certainly not of the majority. But this is an issue for folks in the other party to work through. I just think what he said in the last few days was reprehensible.”

On the streets of New York City, people Reuters TV interviewed had mixed feelings about Trump.

One man who asked to remain unidentified said that while he believes McCain is a hero, he thinks Trump is “a real funny guy and he’s bringing a lot of issues to the forefront because nobody else has the guts to say what he’s saying.”

But it’s what he is saying, that has some dumbfounded. A man named Scotty from New Mexico, who declined to reveal his last name, said he is “totally surprised” that Trump could be so popular with Americans.

“With his opinionated self about Hispanics and people of color in general. Totally blows my mind on how we think sometimes in this country,” he said.

Another woman named Almi who is from New Jersey, likened Trump’s popularity to a bad accident that people can’t turn away from.

“You know you just want him to get all crazy and powered up and for some reason it’s working for him because he’s up in the polls. But everything that comes out of his mouth is just a disgrace. It’s so sad and I can’t believe he’s actually trying to run for the country. Not happening darling, no!”

But Trump does have one firm supporter in Times Square performer, The Naked Cowboy.

“I think that a guy like him who is not political, who is not polished and saying what everybody wants to hear is exactly the kind of guy who can get something done and would really do it …”

“I know he’s causing a stink with some of the stuff he says, but I think he’s awesome,” he said.

It looks like Trump is doing something right. But whether he can keep growing his base of support remains to be seen.

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