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Donald Trump Has One Enemy He Won’t Stop Attacking

Former President Donald Trump has had a lot of feuds in his time in politics. Still, one of the more bitter ones was with Sen. John McCain.

Donald Trump speaking at the Iowa Republican Party's 2015 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. By Gage Skidmore.
Donald Trump speaking at the Iowa Republican Party's 2015 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Five years after he died, Donald Trump is still feuding with John McCain: The former president this week ripped the lengths of the speeches at the 2018 funeral of the Arizona senator and former presidential candidate, to which he was famously not invited. 

Donald Trump Strikes Again

Former President Donald Trump has had a lot of feuds in his time in politics. Still, one of the more bitter ones was with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the two-time former presidential candidate who was a leader of the Republicans’ “never Trump” faction during the 2016 presidential campaign, and later was instrumental in seeking to push the Steele dossier. 

Trump’s 2015 declaration, of McCain, that “he’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured” was the first of many things Trump said that was thought to hurt his political ambitions, without doing so.

McCain, once Trump was president, cast the deciding vote against one of Trump’s efforts to repeal Obamacare. 

When McCain was dying of cancer in 2018, he made it clear that then-President Trump was not welcome at his funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington. That funeral was meticulously planned and featured eulogies from the two previous presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who McCain had run against and feuded with.

Meanwhile, the nationally televised funeral itself was filled with earnest tributes to citizenship and honor – the sorts of things that can be interpreted, on their own, as shots at Donald Trump. 

In a “farewell statement” released the week of his death, McCain took one more shot at Trump. 

“We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe,” McCain said in the statement, which was read aloud at the time by longtime McCain aide Rick Davis. “We weaken it when we hide behind walls rather than tear them down when we doubt the power of our ideals rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.” 

Trump Won’t Stop 

Trump continued to rip McCain regularly, even long after the senator was dead.

He once complained, the following year, that he gave McCain “the funeral he wanted, and I didn’t get ‘thank you’” from the senator’s family.

McCain’s widow Cindy, a lifelong Republican, endorsed Joe Biden for president in 2020 and was later named ambassador to the United Nations food agency. Trump has also frequently ripped McCain for his support of the Iraq War. 

The former president’s shots at his long-dead rival have continued in Trump’s new book, “Letters to Trump,” the New York Post reported this week. It shows that Trump has a new complaint about the late senator: His funeral was too long. 

“I never warmed to him,” wrote Trump in the book, a collection of letters Trump has received from notable people, with a price tag of $95. “Never felt good about anybody having anything to do with John McCain and never will, even despite the fact that at their request, I gave him the world’s longest funeral, 11 days. Much like his wars, it never ended.”

The funeral, while it lasted several hours, did not go on for “11 days.” However, his casket lay in state at the Arizona State Capitol, prior to a service in Arizona, before the body was flown to Washington to lay in state at the U.S. Capitol, before the service at Washington National Cathedral on September 1, 2018. Another service was held at the Naval Academy the following day, and that’s where McCain was laid to rest. In total, the festivities went on for five days, not 11. 

As The BBC and other media outlets reported at the time, the president had to approve the military flight of McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington. However, the other aspects of the funeral did not require anything involving Trump. 

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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.