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Months After John McCain’s Death, Trump Keeps Feud With Him Alive Months After John McCain’s Death, Trump Keeps Feud With Him Alive
(about 1 hour later)
LIMA, Ohio — For months, President Trump has been unable to shake his grudge against Senator John McCain, who died in August of brain cancer.LIMA, Ohio — For months, President Trump has been unable to shake his grudge against Senator John McCain, who died in August of brain cancer.
Planning his funeral, the Republican Arizona senator made it clear that Mr. Trump would not be welcome, leaving the president to fume when his two immediate predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, eulogized Mr. McCain in a service at Washington National Cathedral. The president’s response was to stall on issuing any proclamation of praise, or ordering flags to be flown at half-staff to commemorate the senator’s death.Planning his funeral, the Republican Arizona senator made it clear that Mr. Trump would not be welcome, leaving the president to fume when his two immediate predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, eulogized Mr. McCain in a service at Washington National Cathedral. The president’s response was to stall on issuing any proclamation of praise, or ordering flags to be flown at half-staff to commemorate the senator’s death.
In recent days, Mr. Trump has made it clear that his feud with Mr. McCain is still very much alive, and on Wednesday, in front of a military audience at a tank plant here in Lima, he took it to a new level.In recent days, Mr. Trump has made it clear that his feud with Mr. McCain is still very much alive, and on Wednesday, in front of a military audience at a tank plant here in Lima, he took it to a new level.
He said he gave Mr. McCain “the funeral he wanted, and I didn’t get a thank you.” He said he gave Mr. McCain “the funeral he wanted, and I didn’t get ‘thank you.’”
He blamed him for “a war in the Middle East that McCain pushed so hard.” He said that “McCain didn’t get the job done for our great vets and the V.A.” And he was blunt about how he felt about him.He blamed him for “a war in the Middle East that McCain pushed so hard.” He said that “McCain didn’t get the job done for our great vets and the V.A.” And he was blunt about how he felt about him.
“I have to be honest, I’ve never liked him much,” Mr. Trump said, about 10 minutes into a freewheeling speech that was ostensibly about the resurgence of manufacturing jobs. “Hasn’t been for me. I’ve really — probably never will.”“I have to be honest, I’ve never liked him much,” Mr. Trump said, about 10 minutes into a freewheeling speech that was ostensibly about the resurgence of manufacturing jobs. “Hasn’t been for me. I’ve really — probably never will.”
Their long, antagonistic history began in the run-up to the 2016 election, when Mr. Trump said the former prisoner of war was not a war hero, adding, “I like people who weren’t captured.”Their long, antagonistic history began in the run-up to the 2016 election, when Mr. Trump said the former prisoner of war was not a war hero, adding, “I like people who weren’t captured.”
But months after Mr. McCain’s death, Mr. Trump suddenly cannot stop talking about his old adversary, outraging Mr. McCain’s supporters and creating another divide between himself and congressional Republicans.But months after Mr. McCain’s death, Mr. Trump suddenly cannot stop talking about his old adversary, outraging Mr. McCain’s supporters and creating another divide between himself and congressional Republicans.
On Wednesday, Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, called the president’s string of recent comments about Mr. McCain “deplorable.”On Wednesday, Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, called the president’s string of recent comments about Mr. McCain “deplorable.”
“It’s deplorable what he said,” Mr. Isakson said in an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Political Rewind” radio show, adding, “It will be deplorable seven months from now if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out.”“It’s deplorable what he said,” Mr. Isakson said in an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Political Rewind” radio show, adding, “It will be deplorable seven months from now if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out.”
He joined Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, who had criticized the president on Tuesday. “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,” Mr. Romney wrote on Twitter.He joined Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, who had criticized the president on Tuesday. “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,” Mr. Romney wrote on Twitter.
Other Republicans, like Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, were more muted in responding to Mr. Trump’s latest attacks, choosing to emphasize their support for Mr. McCain rather than confront Mr. Trump.Other Republicans, like Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, were more muted in responding to Mr. Trump’s latest attacks, choosing to emphasize their support for Mr. McCain rather than confront Mr. Trump.
Those attacks began over the weekend, when the president used his Twitter feed to berate Mr. McCain for his role in giving the F.B.I. a dossier of unverified information about Mr. Trump’s connections to Russia that was compiled by a former British spy. He brought up his vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act. He claimed that Mr. McCain, a former prisoner of war, was “last in his class” at the Naval Academy, when Mr. McCain actually graduated fifth from the bottom.Those attacks began over the weekend, when the president used his Twitter feed to berate Mr. McCain for his role in giving the F.B.I. a dossier of unverified information about Mr. Trump’s connections to Russia that was compiled by a former British spy. He brought up his vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act. He claimed that Mr. McCain, a former prisoner of war, was “last in his class” at the Naval Academy, when Mr. McCain actually graduated fifth from the bottom.
On Tuesday, seated in the Oval Office next to the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, Mr. Trump told reporters that he was “never a fan” of Mr. McCain, and never would be. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump reiterated all those reasons in a diatribe that was part of a week that has been defined for Mr. Trump by the airing of personal feuds.On Tuesday, seated in the Oval Office next to the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, Mr. Trump told reporters that he was “never a fan” of Mr. McCain, and never would be. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump reiterated all those reasons in a diatribe that was part of a week that has been defined for Mr. Trump by the airing of personal feuds.
He has spent days criticizing George T. Conway III, the husband of Kellyanne Conway, one his top advisers, who has been raising alarms about the president’s mental health and calling him unfit for office via his Twitter feed.He has spent days criticizing George T. Conway III, the husband of Kellyanne Conway, one his top advisers, who has been raising alarms about the president’s mental health and calling him unfit for office via his Twitter feed.
On his way to Ohio, Mr. Trump called Mr. Conway a “whack job,” capping two days of back-and-forth with the spouse of one of his most loyal and longest-serving aides.On his way to Ohio, Mr. Trump called Mr. Conway a “whack job,” capping two days of back-and-forth with the spouse of one of his most loyal and longest-serving aides.
Mark Salter, Mr. McCain’s closest political adviser and a harsh critic of the president, said the attacks were of a piece.Mark Salter, Mr. McCain’s closest political adviser and a harsh critic of the president, said the attacks were of a piece.
“The problem isn’t Trump’s disrespect to John and his family, it’s Trump,” he said. “He’s unfit for the office, and most members of Congress know he is. I hope this latest evidence of that convinces more people that he can’t be ignored.”“The problem isn’t Trump’s disrespect to John and his family, it’s Trump,” he said. “He’s unfit for the office, and most members of Congress know he is. I hope this latest evidence of that convinces more people that he can’t be ignored.”