Donald Trump on Thursday bashed John McCain as a ‘lousy candidate’ two day after his widow put her support behind Joe Biden on the second night of the Democratic Convention.
The president’s comments against the late Arizona Republican senator are in response to a Tucker Carlson segment on Fox News with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who ran with McCain on his presidential ticket in 2008.
‘Sarah is correct. McCain was a lousy candidate with lots of bad policy, but the ‘deadheads’ sabotaged his campaign from the inside, and never gave him a chance to win,’ Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
‘Hope they were happy with OBiden, who gave you me!’ he continued, as he reiterated that he only won his election due to the failures of President Barack Obama’s presidency.
Cindy McCain spoke on the second night of the Democratic National Convention Tuesday, lending her voice to a video tribute to Biden’s friendship with her late husband – but she did not appear for live-streamed or taped remarks specifically endorsing the candidate.
‘My husband and Vice President Biden enjoyed a 30+ year friendship dating back to before their years serving together in the Senate,’ she wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon in previewing the tribute, ‘so I was honored to accept the invitation from the Biden campaign to participate in a video celebrating their relationship.’
McCain was just one of the several Republicans to join the Democratic gathering after a number of prominent officials – including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former New York Rep. Susan Molinari and former GOP California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who is also the former CEO of Hewlett Packard and now runs Quibi.
Palin told Carlson Wednesday night that her and McCain’s campaign was doomed because of those working inside to ‘sabotage’ any chances of success.
She specifically pointed to Steve Schmidt, who now works for an anti-Trump Republican group, and Nicole Wallace, who served for a year-and-a-half as George W. Bush’s communications director and is now an anchor at left-leaning network MSNBC.
While Cindy did not say specifically she was endorsing Biden for president, her participation in the video was taken that way. It’s her biggest support of Biden’s candidacy and her first foray into the 2020 election.
Democrats have pushed a unity theme in their convention, which became a fully virtual gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic, selling Biden as a candidate who appeals to people across the political spectrum.
Many of the speeches, including one from Barack Obama on Wednesday night, have questioned Trump’s qualifications to hold the Oval Office while outlining Biden’s credentials for the job.
Actress Octavia Spencer narrated the video of the McCains, which talked about how Biden, then a Delaware senator, met John McCain in the 1970s when McCain was assigned to be a military aide for him on a trip overseas.
The video featured clips of John McCain’s voice, including a segment in which he joked he had to carry Biden’s bags, while Biden responded: ‘The son of a gun never carried my bags. He was supposed to carry my bags but he never carried my bags.’
The two men became friends, and the families would gather for picnics in the Bidens’ backyard.
‘They would just sit and joke. It was like a comedy show, sometimes, to watch the two of them,’ Cindy McCain said in the video.
She made her voice heard for Biden ahead of the Republican National Convention next week, where President Trump will be formally nominated for a second term.
Trump and the late senator had a long history of enmity with the president targeting McCain both before and after his death.
In 2015, as a Republican presidential candidate, Trump said McCain – who spent five and half years in captivity during the Vietnam War – wasn’t a hero ‘because he was captured.’
‘I like people who weren’t captured,’ the Republican candidate said at the time.
In July 2017, McCain, in his last vote as a senator, angered Trump when he gave a dramatic thumbs down to vote against repealingObama’s healthcare law. McCain was the deciding vote.
When McCain died on a Saturday in 2018 after suffering from brain cancer, the Trump administration lowered the flag over the White House to half-staff but had raised it by Monday.
There was a public outcry and the flag was eventually lowered again. Trump pointedly wasn’t invited to McCain’s funeral, which took place in Washington’s National Cathedral.
Instead McCain was eulogized by Obama, who defeated him in the 2008 presidential race with Biden as his running mate, and former President George W. Bush, who defeated McCain in the 2000 Republican presidential primary. Bill and Hillary Clinton were also in attendance as was a who’s who in the political world.
Biden gave a eulogy for McCain at a memorial service for him in Arizona ahead of his formal state funeral. Biden was a pallbearer for McCain during the service at Washington’s National Cathedral.
Even after his death, Trump continued to attack John McCain, going after him in March 2019 for his role in the Justice Department investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. During that contest, McCain received a copy of the unverified Christopher Steele dossier – which claimed that the Russians had blackmail material on Trump – and turned it over to then-FBI director James Comey. Later a longtime McCain aide, David Kramer, admitted he circulated it to several news organizations.
And during Trump’s May 2019 visit to Japan, the White House asked the U.S. Navy to move ‘out of sight’ the warship USS John S. McCain ahead of President Trump’s visit to the shipyard at the Yokosuka Naval Base, where several American battleships were docked.
The ship is actually named after three McCains who served in the Navy: the late senator, as well as his grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., an admiral during World War II, and his father, John S. McCain Jr., an admiral in the Vietnam era.
Trump denied any knowledge of the request. Meghan McCain, in response, called the president a ‘child’ who will not let her late father rest in peace.
‘Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life.
‘There is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him. It makes my grief unbearable,’ she wrote on Twitter.
Meghan McCain has been the fiercest critic of her father’s legacy but Trump’s insults after the senator’s death grew so bad that the McCain’s youngest daughter Bridget, 27, made a rare public statement in defense of her late father.
Trump had complained in March 2019 during a visit to a manufacturing plant in Ohio that he didn’t get thanked for giving McCain ‘the kind of funeral that he wanted.’
‘I endorsed him at his request and I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as president I had to approve. I don’t care about this, I didn’t get a thank-you. That’s okay. We sent him on the way. But I wasn’t a fan of John McCain,’ Trump said.
In response the late senator’s two daughters begged for the president to leave their dad and family alone with Bridget going as far as to call Trump a ‘child’ and saying he wasn’t invited to senator’s funeral because ‘you could not be counted on to be courteous.’
Biden consoled Meghan McCain during an appearance on ‘The View’ after her father was diagnosed with brain cancer. Meghan McCain, who has become a fiery Trump critic, has said Biden continues to reach out to her.
Biden’s son Beau died from the same cancer as John McCain in 2015.
Meghan McCain has suggested she´d be voting for Biden in November but Cindy McCain has pointedly stayed out of the presidential race.
In April of last year, amid rumors that the McCains would wade into the election in support of Biden, Cindy McCain tweeted that Biden is ‘a wonderful man and a dear friend of the McCain family.’
‘However,’ she added at the time, ‘I have no intention of getting involved in presidential politics.’
The video on Biden’s friendship with McCain is one of a series of short documentaries created by Oscar Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim, who worked on ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ the 2006 documentary on climate change that featured former Vice President Al Gore and won an Academy Award.