A terse Donald Trump was quick to take to Twitter after Senator John McCain’s death today but the 45th President of the United States didn’t have much to say about the man who sought to be the 43rd and 44th POTUS himself.
In unusual brevity and lacking his standard hyperbole, Trump wrote:
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2018
There was no mention by Trump of McCain’s military service, his unsuccessful 2000 GOP nomination bid or his 2008 standard bearing for the party. Unlike his boss, Vice-President Mike Pence at least acknowledged his fellow Republican’s career:
Karen and I send our deepest condolences to Cindy and the entire McCain family on the passing of Senator John McCain. We honor his lifetime of service to this nation in our military and in public life. His family and friends will be in our prayers. God bless John McCain.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) August 26, 2018
A past political rival of McCain’s and one of the people who will delver a eulogy at the funeral was far more generous that the current Executive Office holders in his remembrance. Here’s what former President Barack Obama said on Saturday:
Our statement on the passing of Senator John McCain: pic.twitter.com/3GBjNYxoj5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 26, 2018
McCain’s wife Cindy and daughter Meghan, a co-host of The View, also took to social media after the Senator’s death with some emotional words:
My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the the place he loved best.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) August 26, 2018
In many ways, while Obama and the younger McCain’s tweets were expected, Donald Trump’s icy response to the 81-year old Arizona Senator’s death from brain cancer shouldn’t surprise anyone either.
The former Apprentice host and the man played by Ed Harris in HBO’s 2012 Game Change film were never any where near close despite their party allegiance. In fact, the two often seemed to be permanently at odds politically and otherwise in life and now death. It really exploded in 2015, when, after another spat with McCain, a campaigning Trump said that the captured Navy pilot held and tortured for years by the North Vietnamese was “not a war hero.”
“He was a war hero because he was captured,” Trump added at the Family Leadership Summit in July 2015 soon after announcing his bid for the White House “I like people who weren’t captured.” After that, relations between the two became even more strained as Trump frequently complained publicly how McCain’s Senate vote of July 2017 was the reason the GOP were never able to completely wipe out Obamacare despite years of promising to eradicate the 44th POTUS’ biggest domestic policy achievement.
More recently, after a White House aide stayed in her job for a month this year, after mocking McCain’s ill health, Trump managed to shock many and not others when he refused to say the Senator’s name as he signed the massive John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act into law in early August. At the time, McCain gave Trump a snub of his own in absence right back:
I’m proud the NDAA is now law & humbled Congress chose to designate it in my name. As Chairman of the Armed Services Cmte, I’ve found high purpose in service of a cause greater than self—the cause of our troops who defend America & all that she stands for. https://t.co/Gco9E57HdC
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 13, 2018
On August 24, Trump gave a wide-ranging speech in Iowa touching on almost all the Republican hot button topics. Yet, he never once noted how McCain had decided to end treatment for his aggressive brain cancer – a decision that effectively led to the now deceased Senator’s passing today.
Some of the antagonism between the media sensitive Trump and McCain undoubtedly came from the admiration that the latter was held in by many in the press, even after the Senator’s disastrous 2008 White House race against Obama.
A longtime favorite of op-ed writers and tv bookers for his frank and self-described “maverick” style and frequent Sunday morning talk shows, late night and cable newers slots, McCain was also no stranger to the fictionalized small and big screen over the course of his political career.
Besides a recent HBO documentary on his life and being portrayed by Ed Harris is the premium cabler’s award winning 2012 Game Change film, which profiled the 2008 Presidential race and McCain’s running mate choice of Sarah Palin, played by Julianne Moore, the Arizona Senator played himself in a number of series and films.
As well as appearing on Saturday Night Live on several occasions and having the 2005 TV movie Faith of My Fathers based on his book of the same name, the politician and author was on NBC’s Parks and Recreation in 2015, and Fox’s 24 in 2006, among others. In movies, McCain was most noticeabley in a church appearance in 2005’s Wedding Crashers at, no surprise, a wedding.
Now the true American hero is gone.