- President Donald Trump reportedly won’t comment on ailing Sen. John McCain while he’s still alive, according to White House officials.
- The Washington Post reported after McCain’s announcement he would be stopping treatment for brain cancer, administration officials were given no direction to comment.
- This is the latest icy moment in the two leaders’ ongoing tense relationship.
President Donald Trump’s fraught relationship with Senator John McCain will continue in the face of the senator’s declining health, as Trump refuses to comment on McCain while he’s still alive, according to White House officials.
But Trump has been notably silent on McCain amid the news, and White House officials told The Washington Post that Trump does not want to comment before McCain dies.
Since Trump was announced as the Republican nominee for the 2016 US presidential election, he and McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, have publicly traded barbs over McCain’s voting down the GOP healthcare plan, last year’s riots in Charlottesville, McCain’s military service, and Trump’s absence from the Vietnam War.
A nearly 20-year-old video of a CBS interview with anchor Dan Rather recently resurfaced, which shows Trump promising he was “absolutely serious” about one day running for president, and taking hits at McCain’s capture and imprisonment in Vietnam.
“Does being captured make you a hero?” Trump asked. “I don’t know, I’m not sure.”
The tension showed no signs of softening even through McCain’s diagnosis of brain cancer last summer. Indeed, it has grown harsher throughout the past year, culminating in July with McCain’s vehement condemnation of Trump’s behavior at a Helsinki meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, which McCain called “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
A former senior administration official told The Post that Trump was often upset McCain appeared as the “good guy” in the public eye while he was painted as the “bad guy.” Publicly, Trump has begun ignoring McCain completely.
McCain is in his sixth term as a US senator and, though he has been absent from the Senate during much of his treatment over the past year, remains a prominent face of the Republican party in image and policy. Most recently, McCain’s work as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee lead to a bill for increased military spending.
Trump held a public signing for the bill, which is officially named the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2019. Despite picking out several individual politicians who were responsible for the bill, Trump neglected to mention McCain’s name at all.