- President Donald Trump is confident the late Republican Sen. John McCain was not admired much among his supporters and believes there will be no lasting consequences for his repeated attacks, according to a senior official cited in a Washington Post report.
- During a speech on Wednesday, Trump said he “had to” give McCain “the kind of funeral that he wanted.”
- Republicans and Democrats have condemned Trump’s comments, just as they did when the president attacked McCain previously.
President Donald Trump is confident the late Republican Sen. John McCain was not admired much among his supporters and believes there will be no lasting consequences for his repeated attacks, according to a senior official cited in a Washington Post report published on Thursday.
During a speech in Ohio on Wednesday, Trump reignited his gripes about the widely respected Republican leader who died seven months ago.
Trump said he “had to” give McCain “the kind of funeral that he wanted.” INSIDER reached out to McCain’s office for clarification on Trump’s remarks about the late senator’s funeral arrangements.
“I don’t care about this, I didn’t get ‘thank you.’ That’s OK,” Trump said. “We sent him on the way, but I wasn’t a fan of John McCain.”
Trump’s comments were met with bipartisan condemnation – a response that resembles previous reactions following the president’s remarks against McCain.
“There is just no reason to be talking about Senator McCain after he has passed,” Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas tweeted on Thursday. “He is not your political enemy Mr. President.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close friend of McCain and an ally of Trump, said the latest controversy was “being used to bash Trump.”
“I don’t like it when he says these things about my friend, John McCain, and the best thing that can happen for all of us is to move forward and focus on the challenges,” Graham said on Wednesday.
Republican Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona, McCain’s successor in the Senate, said she had a discussion with Trump about his comments on Wednesday, according to The Post. But a spokeswoman reportedly said McSally did not encourage Trump to lay off of McCain.
“There is a lot of disrespect going on out there all the way around,” McSally said on Thursday, according to The Post. “I did talk to the president yesterday. I wanted to make sure he understood how I felt about Sen. McCain and how Arizona felt about Sen. John McCain, and he heard me.”
Trump reportedly said he was baited into talking about McCain during an interview on Fox Business Network on Thursday.
“I don’t talk about it, people ask me the question, I didn’t bring this up,” he said.
But Trump’s most recent insults toward McCain this week started with a tweet he posted early on Sunday morning, in which he said McCain was “last in his class” at the US Naval Academy. He was not, The Associated Press reported.
The news wire service said McCain did earn poor grades at the naval academy in Annapolis, Maryland, but he ultimately graduated fifth from the bottom of his class, not last.
McCain died after a long battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer in August 2018. Following his death, Republicans and Democrats widely praised McCain’s storied service in the US Navy and Congress. But the prevailing sentiment did not resonate with Trump, who has downplayed McCain’s service for decades.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in 2015. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
McCain frequently criticised Trump during the first year and a half of his presidency. After Trump’s controversial performance at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018, McCain described it as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
McCain also denounced Trump’s repeated attacks on the press: “Trump continues his unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets,” McCain wrote in an op-ed. “This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.