Renaming The Senate Office Building For The Late Gop Hero Seemed Like A Slam Dunk Then Republicans Hit A New Low
Sen. Richard Russell; Sen. John McCain
This week’s memorial to the late Sen. John McCain has not brought out the best in President Trump. Indeed, he seems to be increasingly upset as he obsessively watches cable news and sees the drama of the funeral and all the accolades pouring in from around the world in tribute to the nation’s most famous elder statesman.
Trump’s behavior on the announcement of McCain’s passing was typically boorish and crass, and as the mourning period goes on he seems to be doing everything short of turning cartwheels in the Rose Garden to get attention. He has pushed White House counsel Don McGahn out the door on Twitter and made clear that he’ll let Jeff Sessions stay on as attorney general until the midterms, pretty much putting Robert Mueller on notice. Grace of any kind is not this president’s strong suit.
Congressional Republicans have by and large behaved with more dignity, although that’s a very low bar. Most members gave stirring encomiums to their late comrade on the Senate floor this week, undoubtedly annoying Trump to no end. There were a few noteworthy exceptions. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma defended Trump’s petulant behavior, saying, “Well, you know, frankly, I think that John McCain is partially to blame for that because he is very outspoken.” Apparently, disagreeing with Trump means you deserve to be treated disrespectfully upon your death regardless of your years of government service. Good to know.
Hating Mccain: Grant Ted Kennedy And Nixon Got A Break At The End But Times Change
In 1885, Ulysses S. Grant was dying. And even though his presidency had been tarred by scandal, and his command of the Union Army in the Civil War had destroyed much of the South, he was honored from New Orleans to Boston.
“The dying Grant exerted a powerful symbolic influence upon the American imagination,’’ Ron Chernow writes in his new Grant biography. “Union and Confederate soldiers alike expressed concern for his plight.’’ Several Confederate officers visited Grant in his final days. Two were pallbearers at his funeral.
That’s how it was in U.S. politics: The adage “never speak ill of the dead’’ applied also to the dying, including one’s enemies.
Until now. In what are probably Sen. John McCain’s last months, the former POW and Republican presidential nominee has been denounced as a traitor, a collaborator, an egomaniac, a blowhard, a fake, a liberal and, worst of all, irrelevant.
It’s a sign of the times, says Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political historian: “We’ve devolved to the point politically where everything is fair game.’’ Even illness and death.
McCain, diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, has mostly been lionized by fellow members of Congress, constituents and the public. But:
On Twitter, someone asked: “Who’s got John McCain in the Dead Pool?’’
One tweet with McCain’s photo, headlined “TRAITOR,” falsely accuses him of giving information “that led to the downing of 60 aircraft’’ and training “North Vietnamese air defense personnel.’’
Fact Check: Trump Says He Never Called John Mccain A Loser He Definitely Did
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said he never called John McCain a loser — he did — and denigrated the record of the late Republican senator on veterans affairs despite routinely appropriating one of McCain’s crowning achievements on that front as his own.
TRUMP: “I was never a big fan of John McCain, disagreed with him on many things including ridiculous endless wars and the lack of success he had in dealing with the VA and our great Vets.” — .
THE FACTS: He’s ignoring McCain’s singular successes on behalf of fellow veterans.
McCain was a leading force in the Senate behind the law that gave veterans an option to go outside the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system and get private care at public expense under certain conditions. President Barack Obama signed the VA Choice legislation into law. Ignoring that reality, Trump persistently claims that he brought Choice into law when no one else could.
Trump signed a law in 2018 that expanded the options for using the Choice program established by Obama, McCain and other lawmakers.
The 2018 law is named after three lawmakers who were veterans of war. All of them now are dead. They are Rep. Samuel R. Johnson, R-Texas, and Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, and McCain, R-Ariz.
TRUMP: “Also, I never called John a loser and swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES.” — tweet Thursday.
John Kasich Tells Meghan Mccain Republicans Need To ‘wake Up’ And Vote Biden
Yet, like many Republicans, she still feels torn about the upcoming election despite a whole slew of reasons why the current president is bad for the country.
“I hate President Trump, and I think everybody else knows that,” McCain said. “But there are some policies on the left, specifically with Kamala Harris right now, having to do with abortion. She co-sponsored a bill doing away with any limits at all, also running on taxpayer funding for abortions.
“I was surprised at this. You’re pro-life, and I know that. You were pro-life in politics, as am I. It’s a big part of who I am and my platform, and I don’t think taxpayers should be funding abortions for women who are as pregnant as I am right now. How would you push back against a voter like me who’s concerned about things like this in a possible Biden-Harris administration?”
Kasich gently attempted to sway McCain by first pointing out that he agreed with her stance on abortion, but then suggested the damage that Trump is doing to the country requires conservatives to make hard choices in the voting booth.
Kasich continued by getting personal.
Kasich then suggested conservatives read an op-ed he wrote for USA Today about the power of faith.
‘i’m Not A Fan’: Trump’s Grudge Against John Mccain Continues Even In Death
The president has had a long-running feud with the late senator, even resorting to attacking him posthumously
Last modified on Sat 23 Mar 2019 05.15 GMT
In life and now in death John McCain continues to torment Donald Trump.
Trump spent last week posthumously attacking the Arizona senator on Twitter, in interviews and in public remarks at an Army tank plant in Lima, Ohio.
“He was horrible,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News on Friday, referring to McCain’s role in the defeat of legislation that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act. “I’m not a fan of John McCain and that’s fine.”
Despite pleas from senior Republicans to stop, Trump has continued his verbal assault on McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and six-term senator who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. McCain died seven months ago from brain cancer.
The origins of the Trump-McCain feud stretch back to the beginning of the 2016 presidential election. But their hostile relationship came to embody the battle for the soul of the Republican party – a fate sealed in the president’s favor by Trump’s victory and McCain’s death.
Nearly a month after Trump launched his presidential bid from his hotel disparaging Mexicans as “rapists” and drug dealers in June 2015, he held a rally in Phoenix. McCain, never one to hold his tongue, had previously expressed disdain for the then-candidate’s rhetoric on immigration and the criticism had reportedly gotten back to Trump.
I Loved John Mccain: Inside Arizonas Gop Movement To Defeat Donald Trump
The Grand Canyon State was ground zero for Trump’s presidency, but also where he paid the highest price for his political mistakes.
11/08/2020 07:07 PM EST
PHOENIX — Two years and two months before Arizona’s rebuke of President Donald Trump, hundreds of Republican leaders of the Grand Canyon State crowded into North Phoenix Baptist Church to bid farewell to their hero and mentor, John McCain.
They were met with a tearful eulogy from a special friend of McCain’s.
“My name is Joe Biden. I’m a Democrat. And I loved John McCain,” the former vice president began, sharing anecdotes from their decades-long friendship and recounting their bipartisan victories in the Senate. He called McCain his “brother” and lauded his heroic American story, “grounded in respect and decency.”
Many in the audience had already been riled up by Trump’s famous dismissal of McCain’s years as a POW — “I like people who weren’t captured.” They’d been appalled when, just months earlier, a Trump White House aide allegedly dismissed the opinion of the cancer-stricken McCain because “he’s dying anyway.” They’d been enraged that, two days before the memorial service, Trump had again attacked McCain after reports of his refusal to lower American flags in his honor.
Biden’s apparent victory in the state, the first for a Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1996, revealed ironies on top of ironies.
But in the end, the more moderate, independent politics epitomized by McCain sent Trump packing.
Twitter Users Rip Sen Lindsey Graham: ‘john Mccain Would Spit On Him’
John McCain continues to regularly trend on Twitter even two-and-a-half years after his death.
McCain, the six-term U.S. senator from Arizona and the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, started trending again on Twitter Thursday amid a blizzard of tweets comparing him to his close friend, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Graham drew outrage on the social-media platform for comments criticizing the case House impeachment managers made Wednesday in former President Donald Trump’s ongoing Senate trial.
“The ‘Not Guilty’ vote is growing after today. I think most Republicans found the presentation by the House Managers offensive and absurd,” Graham tweeted Wednesday.
The House of Representatives impeached Trump last month on one article of inciting an insurrection in connection with the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. Trump’s Senate trial started Tuesday; Wednesday’s proceedings were dominated by dramatic footage of the rampage.
Twitter user Jake Lobin wrote that “John McCain would spit on” Graham for finding “the presentation of facts related to a Terrorist Attack more ‘offensive and absurd’ than the ACTUAL Terrorist Attack.”
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., one of the House impeachment managers, brought up McCain Thursday during Trump’s trial.
Graham also was a onetime critic of Trump, but later became an ally and defender.
“He’s a sycophant to an ‘Inciter in Chief,'” Speier wrote.
Mccain And Trump: How 2 Divergent Leaders Collided Over And Over
The two never reconciled, and the following summer McCain would announce he had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Shortly after that, the Arizona senator returned to the Senate in August 2017 to cast a “no” vote against the GOP’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which Trump still sees as the ultimate betrayal and mocks McCain for. He often dramatically re-enacted the senator’s emphatic thumbs down on the Senate floor during rallies, even as McCain was undergoing treatment.
Flag Flap Underscores Trump’s Strained Relationship With Mccain
The bad blood between Trump and McCain has festered for several years now. Shortly after Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, McCain criticized him for his announcement speech in which the real estate magnate had called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “murderers.” Trump retorted when he held a campaign rally in Phoenix, as the crowd booed their senior senator. McCain later said Trump had “fired up the crazies.”
The major breach in their relationship came in July 2015 when Trump — who avoided the Vietnam draft after claiming he had bone spurs — said that McCain, who endured over five years of torture as a prisoner of war at the infamous Hanoi Hilton, was only seen as was “a war hero because he was captured” and that he liked “people that weren’t captured.”
There did appear to be a detente at one point after Trump endorsed McCain in his GOP Senate primary. Trump even referenced that in his Wednesday speech, saying he had given McCain his blessing “at his request.” However, just before Election Day 2016, McCain — as did many other Republicans — abandoned him following the release of a 2005 Access Hollywood video where Trump had bragged about groping women.
Mccain Honored By Best Friend Graham In Emotional Senate Speech
Over the past year, Trump has struck up a surprising alliance with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who often refers to McCain as his best friend in the Senate and faces a re-election bid next year. In a February interview with The New York Times Magazine, Graham noted that McCain also had to move to the right when he faced primary threats back home: “If you don’t want to get re-elected, you’re in the wrong business…I have never been called this much by a president in my life.”
Following Trump’s weekend remarks hitting McCain, Graham tweeted that “nothing about his service will ever be changed or diminished.”
Nothing about his service will ever be changed or diminished.
— Lindsey Graham March 17, 2019
Back home in South Carolina, Graham did address the president directly, but his comments were still far more tepid than Isakson’s admonition.
“I think the president’s comments about Senator McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Senator McCain,” Graham told local reporters Wednesday. “I’m going to try and continue to help the president….I’ve gotten to know the president, we have a good working relationship. I like him — I don’t like it when he says things about my friend John McCain.”
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 March 19, 2019
Trumps Attacks On Mccain Met With Silence From Many In Senate
- March 21, 2019
WASHINGTON — Many Senate Republicans are as perplexed as they are perturbed about President Trump’s sustained attack on their colleague, John McCain. But few want to shout about it.
Baffled as they may be over why Mr. Trump continues to vilify a man who devoted his life to his nation and suffered as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, that doesn’t mean that all of his former colleagues want to get caught in a feud between a president popular with Republican voters and a memory. Most have not publicly commented on Mr. Trump’s continuing character and policy assault on a man whom many served with for years.
Attempts to reach multiple senior senators for their views and reactions were unsuccessful. They are scattered around the world and the United States on their weeklong break, but senators can find a way to make themselves heard if they believe the subject is important enough.
There were some exceptions.
“I just don’t understand why the president keeps returning to his dislike of John McCain and criticizing him, particularly now that he is no longer alive,” Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and a longtime friend and ally of Mr. McCain, said in an interview. “The president should refrain from any further criticism of John McCain, an American hero who served his country well.”
The awkward silence was not lost on Democrats.
No matter to Mr. Trump.
“That’s O.K.,” he said. “We sent him on his way.”
Mccain Was Darling Of Democrats Until He Ran For President
Through much of the last two decades, Sen. John McCain, who died a week ago, was the darling of Democrats and a beloved figure to political reporters, whom he jokingly referred to as his “base.” When he had a bite at the Oval Office, however, those groups abandoned him, and treated him as they’ve treated so many other conservatives.
WASHINGTON — The Republican nominee for president didn’t have the “temperament” to be commander in chief, charged Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, adding that he “can’t stand” the guy. Moveon.org called him “reckless” and “dangerous.” Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., warned that the GOP candidate was a modern day George Wallace and his rhetoric “is playing with fire.”
Donald Trump in 2016? No, John McCain, 2008.
When he had a bite at the Oval Office, however, those groups abandoned him, and treated him as they’ve treated so many other conservatives.
“When he was taking on George Bush or Donald Trump, he was every Democrat’s favorite Republican. When he was running against Barack Obama, not so much,” said Dan Schnur, a professor at Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications, who was communications director for McCain’s 2000 campaign.
During the 2008 campaign, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the GOP nominee for president “an unappealing candidate” who has “done great things for our country, but he doesn’t particularly empathize with the plight of the average person.”
-Vice President Mike Pence Aug. 31
Arizona State Gop Moves To Censure Cindy Mccain Jeff Flake
The Arizona GOP is expected to vote to censure Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Sen. John McCainJoe BidenBiden to address nation on Afghanistan evacuation Sunday afternoonPelosi says House working to pass infrastructure bills by Oct. 1MORE in the 2020 presidential election.
The party first disclosed its “Censure McCain” resolution last Sunday after it was mistakenly reported that the Maricopa County Republican Party voted to censure her. The county-level party only discussed censuring McCain but did vote to censure Flake.
The effort to censure the two big names in Arizona GOP politics is the latest in a long-standing rift between the grassroots wing of the Arizona GOP and other Republicans. John McCain himself was censured by the state party in 2014 for what the state party saw as an insufficiently conservative voting record.
It comes as Arizona is becoming a more purple state. Biden won the state in the 2020 election by a slim margin, becoming the first Democrat to win Arizona in a presidential election since 1996, when former President Clinton carried the state and businessman Ross Perot ran a strong third-party campaign.
Martha Elizabeth McSallySchumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats upGOP group launches million ad campaign pressing Kelly on filibusterMORE, who had been appointed to the Senate, in November. It’s the first time Democrats held both seats since the 1950s.
Cindy Mccain Rebukes Fellow Republican Trump To Back Biden
FILE – In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo Cindy McCain, wife of former Arizona Sen. John McCain, waves to the crowd after being acknowledged by Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey during his State of the State address on the opening day of the legislative session at the Capitol in Phoenix. Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden said Sept. 22 that Cindy McCain plans to endorse him for president.
PHOENIX — Cindy McCain has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president in a rebuke of President Donald Trump by the widow of the Republican Party’s 2008 nominee.
Trump has had a fraught relationship with John McCain’s family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during the 2016 campaign. But the family has until now stopped short of endorsing Trump’s rivals.
Cindy McCain cited the decadeslong friendship between her family and Biden’s and their bond as the parents of children serving in the military.
“He supports the troops and knows what it means for someone who has served,” McCain told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday. “Not only to love someone who has served, but understands what it means to send a child into combat. We’ve been great friends for many years, but we have a common thread in that we are Blue Star families.”
Trump reacted harshly to the endorsement, disparaging both Biden and John McCain.
McCain said she hasn’t voted for a Democrat since she was 18. She remains a registered Republican and has no plans to change, she said.
Criticism Of Mccain Is Message To Trumps Base Allies Say
The late Arizona senator and war hero “was the embodiment of a lifetime career politician,” one Trump backer said.
WASHINGTON – Republican leaders gasped again this week at President Donald Trump’s conduct, expressing horror at his scathing criticism of John McCain, the late Arizona senator and former GOP presidential nominee.
But to many Trump allies — and to Trump himself — it all makes perfect sense.
Inside the powerful and populist wing of the party that is most loyal to Trump, McCain is not a revered war hero but a useful foil — encapsulating everything his core voters have come to loathe about establishment Republicans, from their support for the Iraq War to their opposition to Trump’s nativist agenda to their esteem for the Justice Department as it oversees the ongoing Russia investigation.
“You’re talking about a group of people who have felt powerless and voiceless for many years, until President Trump came along, and they’re going to be loyal to him. It’s part of the fabric of their life,” said Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Republican who has run Trump-style insurgent campaigns in his state. “To those people, McCain was the embodiment of a lifetime career politician.”
And there is an audience. On social media, Fox News and other conservative-leaning platforms, Trump’s searing critiques of the late senator are acceptable to many rank-and-rile Republicans.
Graham declined to comment further.
Mccain Services To Include Past Presidents But Not Trump
Trump’s latest comments are only the latest salvo of the past few days, continuing a years-long feud with McCain, even from beyond the grave, and he’s irritating several Republican senators.
Just hours before Trump’s latest hits against McCain, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said that the president’s continued slights against the Navy veteran and his Vietnam War service are “deplorable.”
“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 we’ve got to do — you may not like immigration, you may not like this, you may not like that, you may be a Republican, you may be a Democrat, but we’re all Americans,” Isakson said during an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Political Rewind with Bill Nigut. “There aren’t Democratic casualties and Republican casualties on the battlefield — there are American casualties. And we should never reduce the service that people give to this country, including the offering of their own life, to anything but political fodder in Washington, D.C.”
Theres One Rule For The Trumpian Right: Protect Trump
All of this returned with a vengeance during the 2016 presidential campaign.
In July 2015, when McCain told Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker that a Trump speech given in Phoenix earlier that week was “very hurtful to me … Because what he did was he fired up the crazies.” Trump responded by telling the audience at a Christian conservative forum that “ not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Trump’s fan base responded, circulating meme after very weird meme about McCain’s military service and “warmongering.”
And after Trump’s victory in November 2016, and with McCain’s vote against the Senate’s “skinny repeal” of Obamacare and repeated criticisms of the Trump White House , the Arizona senator became persona non grata among the Trumpian right.
That’s not to say that McCain’s political history hasn’t been full criticizable decisions. This is the same McCain who cheerfully sang “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” back in April 2007 and said that the United States should occupy Iraq for a century.
And yet notably, with some exceptions like Australian leftist writer Caitlin Johnstone, the antiwar far left hasn’t been the source of the most vitriol against McCain. The far right has. In fact, it was a member of the Republican National Committee who shared one of Johnstone’s articles about McCain on Facebook. The article is titled, “Please Just Fucking Die Already.”