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Opinion John McCain flattens Fox News reporter: ‘Why would you ask something that dumb?’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) berated Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy on Oct. 18,2017, for asking about the senator’s relationship with President Trump. (Video: Reuters)
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Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy is doubtless well-studied on the tensions between President Trump and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

In a Monday night speech in Philadelphia, McCain said, “To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of Earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

There was no direct mention of Trump, but there didn’t need to be. In a radio interview, Trump made clear his history of fighting back. “And it won’t be pretty,” he said.

The enmity goes at least as far back as July 2015, when then-candidate Trump said of McCain’s Vietnam service, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” The senator broke ranks with Trump in October 2016, following the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump talked about sexually assaulting women. “Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy,” said McCain.

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McCain cast a pivotal vote against an Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate in late July, frustrating Trump.

Perhaps in light of all this, Doocy asked McCain in a reporters’ scrum: “Has your relationship with the president frayed to the point that you are not going to support anything that he comes to you and asks for?”

McCain bristled at the implication: “Why would you say something that stupid? Why would you ask something that dumb? Huh? My job as a United States senator, is a senator from Arizona, which I was just reelected to. You mean that I am somehow going to behave in a way that I’m going to block everything because of some personal disagreement? That’s a dumb question.”

Indeed it was. The supposition in Doocy’s question, after all, is that McCain’s tensions with the president are the fault and responsibility of the senator. As if McCain were the unreasonable one, and not the fellow who had the audacity to slime a man who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. As if McCain were the intemperate one, and not the fellow who can’t think or talk straight about policy.

In other words, Doocy was channeling the sentiment that prevails on various Fox News opinion shows, including “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) cautioned against the U.S. turning toward "half-baked, spurious nationalism" during a speech after receiving the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal on Oct. 16. (Video: Reuters)