Donald Trump still can't be gracious about John McCain

On Friday morning, ...

Posted: Sep 1, 2018 10:17 AM
Updated: Sep 1, 2018 10:17 AM

On Friday morning, at a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda honoring the late John McCain, Vice President Mike Pence quoted Donald Trump on the late Arizona senator: "As President Trump said yesterday, we respect his service to the country."

Oh, that's nice!, you might think, listening to Pence. I know Trump and McCain didn't get along in life and Trump did the whole flags-at-full-staff thing but I'm glad Trump took the high road -- even if it took him a little while to get there.

Barack Obama

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

John McCain

Mike Pence

Political Figures - US

US federal government

White House

Unfortunately, you would be wrong.

The quote that Pence read from Trump is a partial quote. Here's the whole exchange and Trump's quote, from an interview he did with Bloomberg on Thursday:

BLOOMBERG: "Mr. President, as you know, of course John McCain's remains are on -- on -- on their way back to Washington now. You had an opportunity to unite the country this week. I'm just wondering if you felt like you screwed it up?"

TRUMP: "No, I don't think I did at all. I -- I've -- I've done everything that they requested, and no, I don't think I have at all. You know, we had our disagreements and they were very strong disagreements. I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believed in."

"But with that being said, I respect his service to the country."

BLOOMBERG: "Would he -- would McCain have been a better president than Obama?"

TRUMP: "I don't want to comment on it. I have a very strong opinion on it."

BLOOMBERG: "Ooh. We would love to know."

TRUMP: "I have a very strong..."

BLOOMBERG: "That's not -- that's not a terrible question, that..."

TRUMP: "I have a very strong -- Sarah, she's just having a nervous breakdown."

TRUMP: "I have a very strong opinion on it."

BLOOMBERG: "But you want to -- you want to keep that to yourself."

TRUMP: "Maybe I'll give you that answer someday later. Yes. But I have a very strong opinion on that."

Let's start with the beginning of the quote that Pence read. In full, it reads: "You know, we had our disagreements and they were very strong disagreements. I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believed in. But with that being said, I respect his service to the country."

What we learn from that quote is:

1. Trump and McCain had "very strong disagreements"

2. Trump disagreed with lots of things McCain said he believed in (low-key shade there)

3. Trump respects McCain's service -- or whatever.

Disagree with my third point? Think of it in this context. You ask me whether Karl Malone was a truly great basketball player. I respond this way: "Look, I know lots of people think he is a great player. I disagreed with those people. But with that being said, he scored a lot of points and I respect that he is in the Hall of Fame."

Would you leave that conversation thinking: "Man. Chris really appreciates Karl Malone's greatness?" Of course not. Same goes for Trump.

Then there's the way Trump "answers" the next question as to whether McCain would have made a better president than Barack Obama, had the Republican won in 2008.

"I don't want to comment on it," Trump responded. "I have a very strong opinion on it."

Ask yourself: What "very strong opinion" could Trump have on that question that a) he wouldn't be able to share and b) would give White House press secretary Sarah Sanders a "nervous breakdown?" Surely Trump saying that McCain would have made a better president than Obama wouldn't cause that sort of reaction, right?

Trump knows that. He knows that by not answering the question the way he did, he is making very clear that he does not in fact think that McCain would have been a better president than Obama. That's really something given that Trump, in August 2016, tweeted this about Obama: "President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States!"

If only because Trump is a sitting Republican president who has spent YEARS criticizing every aspect of his predecessor's record, it is utterly baffling that he can't even say whether McCain, his party's 2008 nominee, would have done a better job.

The lack of grace from Trump in this moment is truly remarkable. That Trump gave that interview even as McCain's body was being flown from Arizona to Washington, DC, to be honored goes beyond gracelessness into something darker. That we are talking about the President of the United States behaving like this is almost beyond comprehension.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5613118
DeSoto365831
Harrison252036
Madison242266
Rankin228334
Jackson227642
Jones189958
Forrest180656
Washington166341
Lee146241
Lauderdale141292
Neshoba128692
Lamar122014
Oktibbeha112239
Bolivar111334
Warren109333
Lowndes107737
Panola105913
Sunflower103925
Scott100320
Lafayette97316
Copiah95428
Pike93636
Leflore93363
Holmes89248
Grenada84721
Yazoo83112
Pontotoc8278
Lincoln81741
Monroe79655
Simpson79630
Leake78825
Wayne76721
Coahoma76013
Tate73429
Marshall6959
Marion67720
Union63616
Adams62325
Winston62016
Covington61213
George5815
Pearl River55039
Newton54211
Tallahatchie53110
Attala52225
Walthall50220
Chickasaw46219
Noxubee45711
Alcorn4285
Calhoun4189
Tishomingo4175
Prentiss41210
Claiborne40713
Smith40513
Clay39614
Hancock39014
Jasper3869
Tippah36613
Itawamba35910
Tunica3377
Clarke32726
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29311
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25012
Perry2367
Webster23412
Kemper23314
Amite2326
Jefferson Davis2316
Wilkinson21213
Stone1995
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1967
Benton1441
Choctaw1344
Franklin1272
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99390

Reported Deaths: 1733
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13109243
Mobile9947207
Montgomery6835148
Madison537834
Tuscaloosa421373
Unassigned359961
Baldwin354425
Shelby328335
Marshall316736
Lee267845
Morgan239318
Etowah212131
DeKalb181913
Calhoun178414
Elmore172338
Walker152664
Houston139812
Russell13682
St. Clair133817
Limestone133313
Dallas132323
Franklin127420
Cullman122512
Colbert118113
Autauga116921
Lauderdale116719
Escambia108217
Talladega102614
Jackson9894
Tallapoosa85579
Chambers84138
Dale83424
Blount8004
Chilton7926
Butler76436
Coffee7616
Covington73520
Pike7097
Clarke6629
Barbour5755
Marion57424
Lowndes57224
Marengo55215
Hale47626
Bullock46411
Winston45311
Perry4424
Bibb4385
Wilcox42910
Monroe4214
Randolph40110
Pickens4009
Conecuh39310
Washington39112
Sumter36018
Lawrence3491
Macon33514
Crenshaw3185
Choctaw28312
Cherokee2737
Henry2633
Geneva2611
Clay2585
Greene25111
Lamar2222
Fayette2075
Cleburne1271
Coosa1012
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 85°
Columbus
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 76°
Oxford
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 78°
Starkville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 73°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather