Donald Trump may get an unwelcome reminder of his biggest political foe at his Fourth of July celebration.
Trump announced plans for a massive celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day, one that breaks the tradition of keeping the celebration bipartisan by including a speech from himself. So a group of veterans organizations is planning on also using the event to remind Trump of the enduring popularity of one of his most hated enemies, John McCain.
As The Hill noted, the progressive groups VoteVets and Rags of Honor will be handing out t-shirts showing the USS John McCain, the Navy destroyer that Trump administration officials decided to hide during the president's recent trip to Japan. After officials initially denied having hidden the name of the destroyer, they admitted that it was done in an apparent effort to keep Trump from growing upset at seeing the name of his perceived enemy.
Afterward, Trump denied any knowledge but seemed to justify the decision.
"To me, John McCain, I wasn't a fan," Trump said, via Politico. "But I would never do a thing like that.
"Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn't like him, OK? And, they were well-meaning," the president added. "I didn't know anything about it. I would never have done that."
The incident drew widespread scorn for Trump, who continues his one-sided feud with McCain several months after the Arizona Senator's death. Trump has frequently made digs at McCain for criticizing him and delivering the deciding vote that killed Republican plans to repeal Obamacare.
Organizers of the Independence Day handout said they saw it as a good opportunity to honor the many sacrifices that McCain made for his country -- while taking a dig at Trump for avoiding military service."Whether it was Sen. McCain, his father, his grandfather or his sons, the McCain family has given more to this country than most, and America's birthday seems like a great time to honor that service and sacrifice," said Mark Doyle, founder of Rags of Honor. "After all, people like them – and there aren't many – made these kinds of celebrations possible."
Some critics were already wary of Donald Trump's plans for the Fourth of July celebration, worrying that his speech at the event will turn into something of a campaign speech, spoiling what has been a long tradition of keeping politics out of the Independence Day celebration.