Many media sleuths are trying to get to the bottom of the latest mystery: How could President Trump be so shockingly mean and disrespectful in keeping up a multiday tirade against dead war hero John McCain? What set him off, and what strategy is behind all this?
Please. This is nothing new and nothing surprising in the least. It is Trump being Trump — lashing out at his moral superiors, trying to goad supporters into disavowing their own values to remain in his good graces, revealing his own pitiful inadequacies. There is no master plan here; this is the continuing deterioration of a mentally, temperamentally and ethically unfit man who sees the walls closing in on him and his political future in grave doubt.
President Trump on Wednesday escalated his unrelenting attacks on the late senator from Arizona and former GOP presidential nominee John McCain, who even in death has remained one of Trump’s top targets for abuse as fellow Republicans have repeatedly begged him to stop.
In a five-minute diatribe during an appearance at a General Dynamics tank factory in Lima, Ohio, Trump argued that McCain, a lifelong Pentagon booster and former prisoner of war in Vietnam, “didn’t get the job done” for veterans while also grousing that he did not receive proper gratitude for McCain’s funeral last September.
“I gave him the kind of funeral he wanted, which as president I had to approve,” Trump said inaccurately, an apparent reference to allowing the use of military transport to carry McCain’s body to Washington. “I don’t care about this, I didn’t get a thank-you, that’s okay. We sent him on the way. But I wasn’t a fan of John McCain.”
He also falsely accused McCain of spreading an intelligence dossier around before the election. (He gave it to the FBI after the election.)
How perfectly and entirely pathetic. The man who got multiple deferments to avoid serving his country in Vietnam whimpers about not getting a thank-you (from the dead man’s grieving family?!) for doing nothing other than not nixing the customary trappings of a great man’s funeral. McCain spent five years getting tortured; Trump whines for lack of a thank-you card? Nothing could better sum up the moral chasm between a great American hero and a shell of a man, one consumed by his endless narcissism.
Trump laughably said he was no “fan” of McCain — a war hero, public servant, human rights icon, devoted father, trusted friend, true wit and friend to fighting men and women and veterans. That’s understandable, since the two share nothing in common.
The reaction, or non-reaction of Republicans to Trump’s immoral reign of horror, is no surprise either. The party has been kowtowing to Trump for more than two years now. They never censured him for insisting there were some “very fine” people among the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville. They never condemned him for prior attacks on McCain, for racism or for much of anything else. Why should they start now?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised McCain but didn’t mention Trump. A real profile in courage, huh? No, it is the same moral abdication we’ve seen since Trump took office. Sen. Mitt Romney proclaimed himself stumped as to why Trump would attack his friend McCain. (Hint: Trump has no moral core and hates those who do.)
It was left to Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) to condemn Trump. He first told Bulwark: “I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better, I don’t care if he’s president of United States, owns all the real estate in New York, or is building the greatest immigration system in the world. Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us.”
He then followed with an appearance on Georgia Public Radio. “We have young men and women qualified to do anything in the world that, on their own, volunteer and serve this country … they’re fighting battles in lands far away,” Isakson said. "They’re fighting for everything we believe in and everything we love in this country. … When it comes to it, as chairman of the Veterans Committee, I’m going to stand up for veterans.”
As with the vote on Trump’s fake emergency declaration, when a mere 12 Senate Republicans broke with Trump, the number of those willing to confront Trump over something as egregiously wrong as trashing a dead hero says more about the state of the party than it does about Trump. Trump, we know, is a louse. We have been reminded in the past few weeks just how spineless and soulless is his party.