President Trump’s ongoing verbal war against John McCain has drawn stern rebukes from the late senator’s daughters — one calling on him to be “decent” and another suggesting that she’s not holding her breath.
In a rare public statement, McCain’s youngest daughter, Bridget, took to Twitter on Thursday, criticizing Trump for his cutting words against her father.
“Everyone doesn’t have to agree with my dad or like him, but I do ask you to be decent and respectful,” she wrote. “If you can’t do those two things, be mindful. We only said goodbye to him almost 7 months ago.”
Hours later, her sister Meghan McCain returned to the set of ABC’s “The View,” praising Bridget for speaking her mind but also acknowledging that, “I don’t expect decency and compassion from the Trump family.”
Trump’s most recent swipe at McCain came during an appearance Wednesday at a General Dynamics tank factory in Lima, Ohio. Trump argued, among others things, that McCain (R-Ariz.), a prisoner of war in Vietnam, “didn’t get the job done for our great vets.”
“I got it done,” he added.
The president then spoke about McCain’s funeral in September, after the senator’s year-long battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer, stating that he did not receive a “thank you” for his part in the preparations.
“I gave him the kind of funeral he wanted, which as president I had to approve,” he said, inaccurately referencing his authorizing the use of military transportation to bring 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.”
In response, Bridget McCain issued a strong reprimand Thursday on Twitter.
“Even if you were invited to my dad’s funeral, you would have only wanted to be there for the credit and not for any condolences,” she said. “Unfortunately, you could not be counted on to be courteous, as you are a child in the most important role the world knows.”
Bridget’s comments were met with high praise and support from her sister.
“I don’t like coming here every day and having to do this, as all of you know. It’s extremely emotionally exhausting,” Meghan McCain said on “The View.” “I’m not the only child in my family. I have six brothers and sisters, and my little sister, Bridget, for the first time ever has decided that she wants to speak out.”
In response to her sister’s tweets, Meghan said: “I think it’s very brave of her. She’s very young and she does not speak publicly, so I would like Bridget to speak for herself.” But, she added: “I don’t expect decency and compassion from the Trump family. I do want to thank the American public for all the decency and compassion that they have given us. Do not feel sorry for my family.”
When asked Thursday on Fox Business’s Mornings with Maria why he keeps blasting the late senator, Trump brought up Hillary Clinton, the Democrats and the “fake news dossier,” and accused McCain of conspiring against him “for very evil purposes.”
“But if you realize about three days ago it came out that his main person gave to the FBI the fake news dossier,” Trump told Maria Bartiromo. “It was a fake, it was a fraud, it was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. They gave it to John McCain who gave it to the FBI for very evil purposes, that’s not good.”
Bartiromo asked Trump why he keeps digging into McCain when he’s not around to defend himself, or in her words, “punch back.” Trump said he doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about McCain, but the media keeps bringing him up.
“You asked me the question, when I went out yesterday to the scrum they asked me the question,” Trump said. “When they ask me the question, I answer the question. But you people bring it up, I don’t bring it up.”
Trump did bring McCain up, unprompted, at the event in Lima on Wednesday, when he groused that he did not get a “thank you” for approving McCain’s funeral.
Trump’s remarks were also debated on Thursday’s “Fox & Friends,” where host Brian Kilmeade also condemned them, calling them counterproductive.
“The problem is, he swamped his own message by going after George Conway and, in that speech, inexplicably, segued into going after John McCain,” Kilmeade said. “It makes absolutely no sense."
Trump has been lashing out at McCain for days, but his most recent remarks have drawn criticism from prominent lawmakers, including Republicans.
“It’s deplorable what he said,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said Wednesday in an interview with Atlanta-based Georgia Public Broadcasting. “It will be deplorable seven months from now, if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out . . . We should never reduce the service that people give to this country, including the offering of their own life.”
Others expressed their thoughts on social media.
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a close friend of McCain, spoke fondly of him.
“There’s no one I admire more than John McCain,” he told reporters, adding: “I loved John McCain. I traveled the world with him. I learned a lot from him. He’s an American hero and nothing will ever diminish that. I think the president’s comments about Senator McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Senator McCain.”
Graham also said that he has a good working relationship with Trump, but “I don’t like it when he says things about my friend John McCain.”
Amid Trump’s days-long diatribe, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said he should stop.
“John McCain is a dear friend of mine. So, no, I don’t agree with President Trump and he does need to stop,” she said Thursday during a town hall meeting in Adel, Iowa, according to Politico.
On CNN on Thursday, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was asked whether he was proud of the president.
“I don’t like it at all. I’m surprised that he’s doing it,” he responded. “You’re attacking somebody that died seven months ago. I understand the point, I understand the grievance that the president is bringing up, but you’re not scoring any points with anybody.”
Scaramucci noted that Trump has the support of many veterans in the United States, but said he does not think those veterans “are in love with the fact that he’s attacking John McCain.”
“I think it’s stupid,” he said of the president’s recent comments. “There’s no strategy . . . I don’t think there’s any positive outcome on a Venn diagram. It’s stupid. And by the way, when you are attacking dead people, it’s not good.
“You leave people alone who are dead.”