9 times John McCain defied Donald Trump

Greg Evans
Sunday 26 August 2018 08:45
news
Picture:(William Thomas Cain/ Spencer Platt/ Getty Images)

Republican and former presidential candidate, Senator John McCain has died aged 81 after a long battle with brain cancer.

The six-term senator for Arizona and Vietnam veteran had been diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2017 but on Friday his family announced that he had decided to stop the medical treatment.

McCain's most notable moment in American politics was his 2008 presidential campaign, which he eventually lost to Barack Obama.

Despite this, he remained a key figure in Washington DC right up until December when he decided to step down because of his illness.

In recent years he won praise for being one of the most notable politicians in the US capital to speak against Donald Trump and some of the president's more controversial comments and policies.

Their war of words dates all the way back to 2015 when Trump announced his intentions to run for president in a speech where he called Mexican immigrants drug runners and 'rapists.'

Although Trump ran as Republican, McCain immediately put distance between himself and the current president by criticising his comments about Mexicans.

Speaking to MSNBC he said:

I just think that it is offensive to not only Hispanic citizenry, but other citizenry, but he's entitled to say what he wants to say.

But I guarantee you the overwhelming majority (in Arizona) ... do not agree with his attitude, that he has displayed, toward our Hispanic citizens. We love them.

McCain also criticised Trump's comments aimed at the parents of US Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed during the Iraq War. after the spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

He said:

It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party.

While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us... I'd like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America.

We're a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation – and he will never be forgotten.

As a loyal Republican McCain did support Trump's bid for the presidency but he eventually withdrew his endorsement following the release of the Hollywood Access tapes.

After Trump's ascension to the White House, the two clashed on American foreign policy, especially with Trump's handling of other world leaders.

In a statement given in May 2017, McCain made reference to a phone call between Trump and Australian Malcolm Turnbull, which ended with Trump hanging up.

I realise that some of President Trump's actions and statements have unsettled America's friends.

They have unsettled many Americans as well.

A big talking point in the pair's rivalry was McCain's participation in the Vietnam war and Trump's lack thereof.

Trump repeatedly disparaged McCain's service during the conflict and claimed that he couldn't be classified as a 'war hero because he was captured' and had done little for veterans.

In an October 2017 interview with C-SPAN 3, McCain made a subtle jab at Trump by referencing the fact that Trump dodged the Vietnam draft because he was suffering from bone spurs and that wealthy American's were given an easy way out.

One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur.

That is wrong. That is wrong. If we’re going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.

One of the most dramatic moments in McCain's later career came just days after he was diagnosed with brain cancer when he cast a 'no' vote in the 'skinny repeal' of the Affordable Care Act and effectively kept the law alive with his decision.

At the time he hoped for a return to a more compassionate form of politics.

 I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us.

Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them.

They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.

Another huge talking point was the potential collusion between the Trump election campaign and Russia, as well as Trump's apparent connection with Vladimir Putin.

Following Trump's meeting with the Russian leader in Vietnam in November 2017, McCain attacked Trump's 'America First' policy and claimed Putin did not have America's intentions at heart.

In a statement on his website, McCain wrote:

There's nothing 'America First' about taking the word of a KGB colonel over that of the American intelligence community.

Vladimir Putin does not have America's interests at heart. To believe otherwise is not only naive but also places our national security at risk.

McCain has also criticised the 'spurious, half-baked nationalism' which had begun to infect America under Trump and the administration's attempts to block themselves off from the rest of the world.

After accepting the Liberty Medal in October last year, McCain said:

To fear the world we have organised and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain 'the last best hope of earth' for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.

As his health deteriorated, one of McCain's last acts of defiance against Trump was to declare that he doesn't want the president anywhere near his funeral.

In a New York Times feature from May, representatives reportedly told the White House that they would rather have vice president John McCain in attendance at the service, which is due to be held in Washington's National Cathedral.

Despite their long-running rivalry, Trump, as well as other US politicians have paid their respects to McCain who died in the late hours of Saturday evening.

More: People are sharing this video of John McCain from the 2008 election for a very important reason​

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