After Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) passed away Saturday evening, President Donald Trump vetoed the release of a glowing statement on the former congressman and prisoner of war, opting to instead post a mere 21-word statement on Twitter expressing “sympathies” for the family, The Washington Post reported.
According to current and former White House aides who spoke to the Post, top White House officials like press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Chief of Staff John Kelly pushed Trump to sign off on a pre-written statement that praised McCain’s military service and career as a senator, calling the decorated Vietnam War POW a “hero.” That statement, which was written Saturday, was ready for Trump to sign off on this weekend, but Trump rejected it.
“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!” he tweeted Saturday.
White House aides scrambled to post glowing statements from a slew of other officials instead, according to the Post, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and most other members of Trump’s Cabinet.
According to the Post, Trump has maintained his stance that McCain is not a war hero since he first made the controversial comments about liking war veterans who “weren’t captured” in 2015. Trump has told friends that he felt betrayed by McCain over his vote against the Affordable Care Act repeal and was also particularly vexed over McCain’s role in providing the FBI with a copy of the infamous dossier after the 2016 election.
Trump has also reportedly told aides that he thinks McCain should have left the Senate while he battled cancer.
Read the Post’s full story here.