Dear Commons Community,
As leaders throughout the United States and beyond mourn the death of John McCain, President Trump has chosen to remain conspicuously quiet. Mr. Trump issued no official statement hailing Mr. McCain and instead conveyed his condolences to Mr. McCain’s loved ones on Twitter on Saturday night, but said nothing about Mr. McCain.
“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Our hearts and prayers are with you!” It was reported by the Washington Post yesterday that Trump decided to nix a more complimentary official statement that White House aides, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, prepared for the president. The New York Times commented this morning:
“It is the start of what promises to be a difficult week for Mr. Trump. Mr. McCain quietly declared before his death that he did not want Mr. Trump to take part in his funeral, a decision that will render the president a virtual pariah as the senator is eulogized by former presidents and other luminaries as a principled war hero and dedicated public servant.
But more than just the culmination of a political feud, the specter of Mr. Trump’s highly visible absence from Mr. McCain’s funeral on Saturday morning at Washington National Cathedral underscored the degree to which the president has veered from the norms of his office, unwilling to act as a unifying force at major moments in the life of the country…
… It also highlights the country’s rabid political polarization, which helped propel Mr. Trump to the White House….Some of Mr. Trump’s supporters, for their part, savaged Mr. McCain on social media, calling him a spiteful person who had betrayed his own party and blackballed the president as his dying wish. Mr. McCain — whom Mr. Trump once mocked for his five and a half years as a prisoner of war — spent the final months of his life as an outspoken Republican voice challenging Mr. Trump at a time when many in his party would not.
“For most of American history, politics stopped when you had the death of a national leader, and the fact that it hasn’t says an awful lot about the current state of our country and our politics, and in particular about Donald Trump,” said Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian. “What you’d want to see is a president acting as graciously and as large-mindedly as possible, in the John McCain spirit, but there is no sign of that.”
John McCain was a better human being and American than Donald Trump. Trump knows it and can’t stand it!