Donald Trump’s long-standing animosity toward Arizona Republican Senator John McCain did not let up even after McCain’s death from brain cancer on Saturday, at age 81. According to a new report by The Washington Post on Sunday, Trump personally put a stop to White House aides as they prepared an official administration statement that would have praised McCain as a “hero.”
McCain, who endured prolonged torture during five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp during the Vietnam war, was proclaimed by Trump in 2015 to be “not a war hero.” Trump added that, “he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” As The Inquisitr has reported, Trump not only refused to apologize for the remark but later told a reporter that McCain’s experience as a prisoner of war was “irrelevant.”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Chief of Staff John Kelly led the group of aides who drafted the statement for Trump on Friday, after McCain announced that he would discontinue life-preserving treatment for his brain cancer, according to the report by Post correspondent Josh Dawsey.
“But Trump told aides he wanted to post a brief tweet instead, and the statement praising McCain’s life was not released,” Dawsey reported in the Sunday Washington Post article, which was based on “current and former White House aides, who requested anonymity.”
Trump posted his Twitter message on Saturday expressing “respect” for McCain’s family, but containing no words of praise for McCain himself, or any mention of McCain’s life at all.
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2018
Despite Trump’s “not a war hero” comments, McCain initially endorsed Trump for president in 2016, only to withdraw his endorsement after the release of the Access Hollywood tape on October 7, 2016. On the tape, Trump is heard making crude and disparaging remarks about women, and boasting about his ability to assault women sexually because, “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” according to The Washington Post.
McCain was often sharply critical of Trump, while Trump frequently disparaged McCain, referring to him as “very weak,” “foul-mouthed” and “a dummy,” according to USA Today.
McCain was most critical of Trump’s warm relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom McCain called “a tyrant.” When Trump met with Putin in July, and took a deferential stance toward the Russian president, McCain lashed out, calling Trump’s performance “disgraceful.”