The Republican chairman of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee was slated to deliver a major rebuke of Donald Trump after his repeated attacks against the late war hero and former Senator John McCain.
Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican who heads the veterans committee in the US Senate, told journalist AB Stoddard he would deliver a “whipping” towards Mr Trump after he attacked Mr McCain in a series of misleading tweets over the weekend.
Mr Trump capped off his criticisms of the late senator by saying during a televised meeting in the White House, I never was a fan of John McCain and I never will be.”
Mr Isakson, who has previously described Mr Trump’s attacks against Mr McCain as “unthinkable,” told the journalist he wanted to “elevate John” with a speech scheduled on Wednesday.
“America deserves better, the people deserve better, and nobody — regardless of their position — is above common decency and respect for people that risk their life for your life,” the senator said in an interview published in The Bulwark on Wednesday. “When the president is saying that that he doesn’t respect John McCain and he’s never going to respect John McCain and all these kids are out there listening to the president of the United States talk that way about the most decorated senator in history who is dead it just sets the worst tone possible.”
Mr Isakson’s speech will likely take these criticisms a step further, delivering one of the first major rebukes against the president’s Twitter attacks on Mr McCain from a sitting senator.
While other Republicans have spoken out against Mr Trump’s tweets towards Mr McCain, their comments have also remained almost exclusively on the social media platform, rather than in public condemnations like the one Mr Isakson has prepared for Wednesday.
Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier “is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain.” Ken Starr, Former Independent Counsel. He had far worse “stains” than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)March 16, 2019
Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who maintained a close friendship to Mr McCain, tweeted about the late senator following the president’s attacks, writing, “[McCain] stepped forward to risk his life for his country, served honourably under difficult circumstances, and was one of the most consequential senators in the history of the body.”
Senator Mitt Romney echoed those praises, writing on Tuesday, “I can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honourable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God.”
Mr Trump accused Mr McCain of releasing a dossier filled with investigative information about Mr Trump to the media. Mr McCain has denied sending the document to media, and court filings do not indicate he had any involvement in transmitting it to the press.
“I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better,“ Mr Isakson said. ”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.“
He added, “Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us.”