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.