- President Donald Trump went after the late Arizona Sen. John McCain again this week.
- Republicans have grown frustrated with Trump’s repeated attacks on McCain, a war hero they revere.
- On the Democratic side, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has proposed renaming a Senate office building after McCain.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump does not like John McCain, the former longtime senator from Arizona, 2008 Republican presidential nominee, and Vietnam War hero. The president has criticised and insulted McCain on and off for years.
Since Trump’s ascent to the presidency, his repeated attacks on McCain have perturbed Republicans who revere the late Vietnam War hero. And after his latest attack, Trump is facing considerable backlash from Republican lawmakers.
During a meeting in the Oval Office with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday, a reporter asked Trump why almost a year after McCain’s death he was once again raging against him on Twitter.
Trump cited McCain’s vote against the Affordable Care Act repeal in 2017, which he characterised as a betrayal.
“And, frankly, had we even known that, I think we would have gotten a vote because we could have gotten somebody else,” Trump said. “So I think that’s disgraceful. Plus, there are other things. I was never a fan of John McCain, and I never will be.”
The comments from Trump were relatively tame when compared with other things he has said about McCain – Trump said in 2015 that McCain is not a war hero for being captured in Vietnam. But they still made a handful of Republicans quite angry.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who is often critical of the president, condemned Trump’s comments on Twitter.
“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,” he wrote.
Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who rarely criticises Trump and avoids big headlines in the press, also spoke out against the president for his repeated attacks on McCain.
Isakson, who chairs the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, told The Bulwark, a conservative opinion website, that he intends to excoriate Trump in the same manner he did shortly after McCain’s death when the White House did not properly lower their flags to half-staff.
“I want to do what I said that day on the floor of the senate,” he said. “I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better, I don’t care if he’s president of United States, owns all the real estate in New York, or is building the greatest immigration system in the world. Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us.”
During an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Political Rewind” later on Wednesday, Isakson called Trump’s comments “deplorable” and suggested they did considerable damage to the way military veterans are treated.
“It’s deplorable what he said,” Isakson said. “It will be deplorable seven months from now if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out because there’s one thing that we got to do. You may not like immigration, you may not like this, that, maybe a Republican, maybe a Democrat. We’re all Americans.”
“There aren’t Democrat casualties and Republican casualties on the battlefield. There are American casualties,” he added. “And we should never reduce the service people give to this country, including the offering of their own life, even in political fodder in Washington, DC, or anywhere else for that matter.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced he would be reintroducing his proposal to rename the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill after McCain.
Regarding Schumer’s proposal, Isakson said he is “just playing politics” and opposed renaming the Russell building after McCain.
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