Trump Blocked White House Statement Praising McCain from Being Released
President chose Twitter post instead that didn't praise late senator
Following the death of John McCain over the weekend, it has emerged that President Trump decided against the White House releasing an official statement that would praise the late senator.
The statement was already drawn up by WH officials and would have celebrated McCain as a "hero."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and other senior aides all had pushed for a statement that would have praised him for his decades of service and his heroism as a Vietnam War POW.
Fairly unsurprisingly, however, Trump rejected the statement and instead issued a brief post on Twitter Saturday night following the Arizona Republican senator’s death that mentioned only McCain's family.
With a long-standing bitter relationship between the two men, it was John McCain that handed the phony Trump-Russia Dossier to the FBI for investigation in December 2016, despite the documents being unverified.
Speaking about why he handed over the Fusion-GPS dossier - a Democrat-funded oppo research project that was never fact-checked - to then-FBI Director James Comey, McCain said:
“The allegations were disturbing, but I had no idea which if any were true.
"I could not independently verify any of it, and so I did what any American who cares about our nation's security should have done.
“I did what duty demanded I do.”
Following John McCain's death, Trump opted to post a brief statement on Twitter aimed toward his family that said:
“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
Trump’s decision speaks to the longstanding feud between the two men, dating back to when Trump, as a candidate, said McCain was not a war hero and seemed to fault him for being captured during the Vietnam War.
McCain endured five years in captivity, an experience that later shaped his views, as a senator, on interrogation techniques.
Known as the Senate’s “maverick,” McCain often bucked party ideology, earning him praise on the Democratic side of the aisle and sometimes criticism from his own party – but he remained an influential voice even through his battle with brain cancer.
He twice ran for president and was the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2008.
Tributes to McCain, meanwhile, poured in from other world leaders and statesmen including former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
“Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own,” Barack and Michelle Obama said in their statement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement:
“In an era filled with cynicism about national unity and public service, John McCain’s life shone as a bright example.
"He showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or clichés, but the building blocks of an extraordinary American life.”
McConnell also announced that McCain will lie in State at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.