Arnold Schwarzenegger Condemns Trump’s Attacks on McCain
Whatever it was, the president hadn’t exorcized those demons on Wednesday, when he spoke at a manufacturing plant in Ohio and again invoked the dossier. “What did he do? He didn’t call me,” Trump said. “He turned it over to the FBI hoping to put me in jeopardy. That’s not the nicest thing to do.”
Trump went on to say that he had “never liked him (McCain) much. Hasn’t been for me. I really probably never will.” He wasn’t finished. Trump noted that he’d approved state funeral arrangements for McCain. And he said, “I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted … but I didn’t get a thank you.”
Trump wasn’t invited to the McCain funeral service, which some of his allies describe as hurtful snub. “McCain’s funeral was calibrated to insult Trump–from not inviting him to the way the media played it up,” former senior White House aide Steve Bannon told me before the president spoke in Ohio.
A former aide to McCain, Mark Salter, told me that McCain did the responsible thing and gave the dossier to law enforcement. “What would you have him do?” Salter said. “He didn’t have his own intelligence agency. He had to give it to people who can do something with it.” As for Trump not having been invited to the funeral, Salter said, “I don’t think it’s a surprise that his (McCain’s) family wouldn’t want him there.”
Only a few Republican senators have, like Schwarzenegger, condemned Trump’s attacks. Tepidly. Most have stayed silent, possibly mindful of his hold over the party rank-and-file. Defying the president invites scornful tweets, if not a primary opponent.
McCain’s closest friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, sent out tweets Sunday that defended McCain while not mentioning Trump.
He offered a more pointed statement on Wednesday, telling reporters in South Carolina: “I think the president’s comments about Senator McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Senator McCain.”
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who’s had an on again-off-again relationship with Trump, tweeted 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, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wrote a tweet Wednesday that hailed McCain as a “rare patriot and genuine American hero”—but also omitted mention of Trump.
In his recent attacks, Trump has avoided mention of McCain’s record as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. During the presidential race, Trump said he preferred people “who weren’t captured,” referring to the years McCain, shot down as a Navy pilot, spent captive at the so-called Hanoi Hilton.