Trump Nixed Plans for an Official White House Statement Praising John McCain


The Washington Post reports:

President Trump nixed issuing a statement that praised the heroism and life of Sen. John McCain, telling senior aides he preferred to issue a tweet before posting one Saturday night that did not include any kind words for the late Arizona Republican.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and other White House aides advocated for an official statement that gave the decorated Vietnam War POW plaudits for his military and Senate service and called him a “hero,” according to current and former White House aides, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. The original statement was drafted before McCain died Saturday, and Sanders and others edited a final version this weekend that was ready for the president, the aides said. 

But Trump told aides he wanted to post a brief tweet instead, and the statement praising McCain’s life was not released. 

“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!” Trump posted Saturday evening shortly after McCain’s death was announced.  

Sanders declined to comment Sunday afternoon. 

“It’s atrocious,” Mark Corallo, a former spokesman for Trump’s legal team and a longtime Republican strategist, said of Trump’s reaction to McCain’s death. “At a time like this, you would expect more of an American president when you’re talking about the passing of a true American hero.”

Read the piece here.

This is yet another example of the kind of Trump narcissism I wrote about in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.  Donald Trump is incapable of stepping outside of self-interested politics, even for a moment, to praise or thank a man who devoted his entire life to the service of his country.  He is incapable of laying aside political vendettas or understanding his presidency as part of a larger national story–a story that includes war heroes and public servants with whom he disagrees.  This kind of behavior, our founding fathers warned, that will destroy a republic.  Or to put in their terms, Trump is unable to practice virtue.

One thought on “Trump Nixed Plans for an Official White House Statement Praising John McCain

  1. President Trump tends to believe everything is about him.
    So, for instance, he would be less likely to resign as legal issues pile up. He will not do as Nixon and voluntarily leave rather than hurt the country or the dignity of the office. As troubled as Nixon was he knew the office of president and the country were more important than himself. Probably didn’t come easily but he got it.
    Trump can’t understand the presidency. He won’t give McCain’s memory it’s just due as a President should. Because it’s all about him personally and he held a grudge against John McCain. He can’t perform as the president, only as Donald Trump.
    A lot of Trump’s issues with McCain were probably about him getting respect and accolades as a hero that Trump could not earn or deserve.
    Trump said McCain was no hero because he had been captured.
    Of course Donald Trump also claimed he would have charged into the Parkland school during the killing there unarmed and alone.
    The contrast is between a man who did his best heroically and one who makes up a false bravura, and perhaps not even that deep down Donald Trump knows it.


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