After a battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma that lasted over a year, Senator John McCain has died at the age of 81. He had ceased treatment for the condition earlier this week. McCain served in the Senate for over 30 years and is regarded by most Americans as a Vietnam War hero. He had a contentious relationship with President Donald Trump. The president took to Twitter following news of the senator’s death to express his condolences.
“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
President Trump has been widely criticized for his comment about John McCain in July of 2015. During a campaign event in Iowa, Trump said about McCain, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” as reported by the New York Times. Senator McCain was a naval aviator during the Vietnam War and was shot down and held as a prisoner in Hanoi for over five years. He had many opportunities to provide information in exchange for his release, but refused those opportunities, choosing instead to continue enduring beatings and imprisonment.
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) August 26, 2018
Responses to President Trump’s tweet in the wake of McCain’s death were mixed but largely critical. One Twitter user responded to the tweet with, “John McCain was a better man on his worst day than you will EVER be, even on your best day. Mc Cain was a hero. You are a traitorous scumbag” to which another responded in defense of the president, saying that such a comment in response to an expression of condolence is hate driven and classless.
Some thanked President Trump for his condolences while others commented that the time for him to show respect for Jon McCain was while he was living. One user posted the following on Twitter.
“You said he wasn’t a hero because he was captured.
“Just days ago, you refused to say his name when lauding legislation which was literally named after him.
“You mocked a disability resulting from his imprisonment.
“You have no right to express condolences to his family.”
Some tweets contained criticisms of things McCain said or did during his life. Those comments were shot down as disrespectful.
“I would have run into that POW camp without ANY guns and saved John McCain but sadly, I had crippling bone spurs and my doctor wouldn’t let me serve in Vietnam! TOO BAD!
#MAGA,” One user commented.
President Trump has never retracted his 2015 comments about John McCain, and as reported by many, including the New York Post, was disinvited from McCain’s funeral by the senator prior to his death.