In a Thursday interview with John Dickerson on CBS This Morning, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham revealed his anger about President Trump’s attitude toward and criticism of the late Senator John McCain.
“It pisses me off to no end, and I let the president know it,” CBS News reports.
Graham, who was close friends with the late senator for over 20 years, told Dickerson that the president’s response to McCain’s death was nothing less than “disturbing.” Following the announcement of the Arizona senator’s death, President Trump not only refused to answer any questions about McCain’s passing but also broke protocol by raising the White House flag only a day after his death instead of waiting until his burial, as is procedure. Graham said that, while he did not ask Trump directly to lower the flag back to half-staff, he did call “some people around” the president to remedy the situation.
“The way he’s handled the passing of John is just, was disturbing. We finally got it right,” Graham said, adding, however, that he is still going to help the president, regardless of their personal differences. “I am not going to give up on the idea of working with this president,” he noted. “The best way I can honor John McCain is help my country.”
While Graham is determined to work with President Trump, he is also not hesitant to stand up to the president or let him know when and if he is wrong. “I am going to do everything I can to help President Trump, and when he’s wrong, I will say so,” he continued. “It bothers me greatly when the president says things about John McCain.”
In 2015, Trump claimed that McCain, who was once a prisoner of war in Vietnam, is “not a war hero” because he was captured, adding, “I like people that weren’t captured, OK?” In addition, President Trump failed to mention any of McCain’s accomplishments or his service to this country as both a politician and a veteran upon hearing about the Arizona senator’s death.
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
When asked what the president could potentially learn from McCain, Graham noted that Trump is “going to have to be a big man in a big office,” adding that, “John McCain was a big man, worthy of a big country.”
Addressing Trump directly, Graham said, “Mr. President, you need to be the big man that the presidency requires.”