- The Des Moines Register called on Donald Trump to drop out of the presidential race
- 'Being electable is not the same as being qualified,' the editorial board said
"People who run for public office typically perform a great public service, regardless of whether they win on Election Day," the paper's editorial board wrote. "That's particularly true of presidential candidates, most of whom must devote two years of their lives to hard-fought campaigns that involve staggering personal and financial sacrifices, all in an effort to serve their country. And then there's Trump."
The strongly worded editorial said "being electable is not the same as being qualified, and Trump has proven himself not only unfit to hold office, but unfit to stand on the same stage as his Republican opponents."
"The best way Donald Trump can serve his country is by apologizing to (Arizona Sen. John) McCain and terminating this ill-conceived campaign," the editorial said.
On Saturday, Trump -- at a GOP political event in Iowa -- said McCain, who spent five years as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, was "not a war hero."
"He is a war hero because he was captured," Trump added. "I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have -- I believe perhaps he is a war hero."
But new polling released Monday -- nationally and in Iowa -- finds Trump squarely in the top tier of candidates, but raises some questions about whether he'll be able to maintain that standing.
Overall, the new national poll from the Washington Post and ABC News finds Trump at the top of the field nationally with 24% support among Republican registered voters, well ahead of his closest rivals, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (13%) and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (12%).
But there are some signs Trump's Saturday remarks questioning Arizona Sen. John McCain's military service may have been a turn off to some potential voters. The poll, fielded from Thursday to Sunday, found a drop-off in support for Trump in interviews conducted on the final day of fielding. While he earned 28% support during the first three nights of interviewing, that dipped to single digits on the final day.
That shift occurred among a small sample of Republicans, so it's difficult to judge whether it will hold up as the campaign rolls on.
Still, a Monmouth University poll in Iowa conducted on the same days found almost no decline in support for Trump after his remarks about McCain among those likely to attend that state's first-in-the-nation caucuses. There, Trump stands in second place with 13% behind Walker's field-leading 22%.