Donald Trump is facing fresh criticism, including from people within his own party, for complaining that he didn’t get a thank you for giving late Senator John McCain “the funeral he wanted.”
During a visit to an Ohio tank factory on Wednesday, the US president again reiterated that he “wasn’t a fan” of the Vietnam War veteran and long-serving senator who died of brain cancer in August 2018 at the age of 81.
In a speech to workers at the factory, Trump said he had approved “the kind of funeral [McCain] wanted,” and claimed he “didn’t get a thank you.”
“I never liked him much… I really probably never will,” Trump added.
Trump approved the use of Air Force 2 to move McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington, DC for the funeral, but did not approve or arrange the funeral itself. McCain arranged his own funeral before his death and, despite inviting all other living US presidents, left Trump off the list.
However it appears this time the president may have gone a step too far with his comments, with some of his allies and fellow Republicans leaping to the deceased senator’s defense.
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci called the president’s public criticism of McCain “stupid,” while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that McCain was a “rare patriot and genuine American hero.”
Today and every day I miss my good friend John McCain. It was a blessing to serve alongside a rare patriot and genuine American hero in the Senate. His memory continues to remind me every day that our nation is sustained by the sacrifices of heroes.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) March 20, 2019
I can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 19, 2019
“I think the president’s comments about Sen. McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Sen. McCain,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. “I’m going to try to continue to help the president.”
Georgian Senator Johnny Isakson called Trump’s comments “deplorable,” adding that he does not care “if he’s the president of the United States, owns all the real estate in New York or is building the greatest immigration system in the world.”
The president went on to criticize the late Arizona senator for supporting “a war in the Middle East” and for refusing to repeal Obamacare. “Not my kind of guy,” Trump added. “But some people like him and I think that’s great.”
Trump has been strangely steadfast on reigniting his former feud with the late senator, by tweeting on Saturday that McCain backed the Steele dossier – an unverified 2016 document that claimed to find ties between Trump and the Kremlin. On Sunday the president attacked McCain again, this time saying he was “last in his class” at the US Naval Academy.
So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) “last in his class” (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election. He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2019
McCain’s daughter and TV host Meghan described Trump’s string of criticism of her late father, “someone who isn’t here,” as a “new, bizarre low.”
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