Next week, Trump will be met with the USS McCain in a more subtle way.
A left-leaning political action committee plans to distribute T-shirts that depict the USS McCain during the national Fourth of July celebration on the Mall.
Trump upended the traditional Independence Day celebration this year. The president intends to speak from the Lincoln Memorial. His administration enlisted two private fireworks firms to put on an extended pyrotechnics display worth $750,000. There will be military demonstrations. There will be flyovers.
And thanks to VoteVets, a political action committee that supports veterans’ issues, and Rags of Honor, a screen printing company that employs homeless veterans, there will be T-shirts commemorating McCain.
The groups are crowdfunding to raise money for T-shirt printing, and are using the hashtag #FundTheShirt to gather support. The website fundtheshirt.com also asks for volunteers to help distribute shirts around the Mall and the House and Senate buildings on July 4 “to celebrate and honor a family of American heroes.” They hope to employ veterans to pass out the shirts at the celebration.
“While VoteVets and John McCain never much saw eye-to-eye on policy, and probably still would not if he was around today, his family’s service to America spoke to that sense of realizing this nation is bigger than just one man,” Jon Soltz, the chair of VoteVets, said in a statement. “Honoring that kind legacy — especially of a political [opponent] — seemed fitting for July 4.”
Rags of Honor founder Mark Doyle said his company is printing and shipping the shirts to the District. He said the decision to put the USS McCain on the shirts “was totally apolitical — an opportunity to honor the McCain family and keep some veterans working.”
The shirts sport the image and name of the Navy destroyer, along with its nickname, “Big Bad John.”
The ship was named after McCain’s father and grandfather and rededicated last year to include the senator.
In a news release on the event’s site, the group said that “100 percent of contributions will go to Rags of Honor for the production and printing of the shirts by the company’s hard-working veterans."
The White House did not return a request for comment.