Whatever he is to Trump, McCain became a hero to opponents of the Senate health bill

I’m slightly embarrassed that I don’t tweet. But I do read tweets on the web when the news leads me to them. So I hadn’t immediately seen President Trump’s tweet of July 25 calling Sen. John McCain a “brave American hero” and expressing his appreciation and gratitude that McCain “is coming back to vote” on the health care bills.

And now that I have seen it, it is hilarious and ironic on several levels. Of course, McCain ended up casting the deciding vote against the bill. (I accept the argument that Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the other two Republicans who vote nay, deserve at least as much and perhaps more credit for preventing the bill’s passage. But because of the way drama works, McCain’s last-minute announcement of his opposition, plus coming after he came back to Washington from brain cancer surgery, is the one that will be remembered when the tale is told.)

To his slight credit, Trump has not deleted the tweet, at least as of this writing. If the current incumbent were a more honest man, or at least a more principled and consistent one, he would be thanking McCain even after the vote, since McCain’s vote sank a bill that would have violated Trump’s campaign promise to push through a health insurance plan that would “take care of everybody.” Dream on, right?

But what cracked me up about Trump’s McCain-honoring tweet was the bit about calling McCain a “brave American hero.”

Because another thing that Trump said during the campaign was that McCain wasn’t much of a hero “because he was captured.” Perhaps in the Trumpian mind, one can belittle a man’s heroism when one is annoyed by something, and then call him a “brave American hero” when one wants something from him, and expect the hero in question to be flattered.

McCain may or may not be asked about the president’s latest upgraded views on whether McCain was a hero. And he might or might not express his true feelings about it. (I would be interested to hear what he would say.) But it does seem clear that the president’s understanding of human psychology failed him if he thought that anything he said about McCain’s war record might butter up the senator for the big vote. 

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/01/2017 - 08:32 am.

    Historians and voters will make the decision

    Remember President Obama ridiculing Trump at the Whitehouse Correspondents Dinner 2-3 year ago? That is exactly what is behind President Trumps efforts to do away with everything President Obama accomplished. President Trump made an unwarranted remark that Senator McCain wasn’t a hero because he was captured. I think Senator McCain used his thumb down vote against the healthcare bill for two reasons. Payback time for Trump’s comment and payback for McConnell’s underhanded way of developing the healthcare bill behind a closed door and then trying to push the healthcare bill through – both deserved the thumbs down vote. Historians and voters will take care of the Trump/Obama feud. Voters will have the final say in the McCain/McConnell feud.

    It is always amazing when a politician decides to exit politics or has a life changing event how easily and correctly it is for them to speak their “real” thoughts. Senator McCain spoke his mind. I do give most the credit for the failure of the healthcare bill to Senators Collins and Murkowski because they were consistently against the Republican healthcare bill. Senator McCain just happened to have the most dramatic vote.

  2. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 08/01/2017 - 02:00 pm.

    When the nomination of Merrick Garland was scrapped, Democrats warned that Republicans would regret it when HRC nominated some unnamed SJW to replace Justice Scalia.

    Many fans of the US Constitution took the threat seriously, and for good reason.

    The Senate Republicans have thoroughly embaressed themselves with the repeal debacle, but I would have a care if I were a fan of socialist public health schemes.

    The GOP is in power because they promised to rid the country of Obama’s folly. They are getting an earfull from the folks back home who they owe their jobs to, believe me.

    Add a third degree, black-belt bomb thrower with nothing to lose, like Trump, to the mix and I cannot envision a scenario where *something* isn’t done before the next election.

    History proves nothing, if not that decisions made in haste result in sorrow (Obamacare is a perfect example in itself)…and in the present day, I cannot envision a result that doesn’t target the left to shoulder the grief.

    I’d hold off on the celebration if I were the author.

    • Submitted by Nick Foreman on 08/01/2017 - 03:59 pm.

      What “something” do you mean?

      The republicans are going to have less and less votes to impact healthcare. More people have health insurance today than ever before 2010; intelligent people know that the only basis for the repuks concern for health care is to give even greater wealth to the rich and nothing more. The true grief for the repuks is a president who is a complete nut job; luckily they are starting to ignore this idiot or there will be no Republican Party soon. Haste in healthcare – we are behind the entire civilized world in health care! Only a third believe in trump – hold off on your celebration x 2!

    • Submitted by Howard Miller on 08/07/2017 - 11:05 am.

      Obama’s folly

      made it possible for my girlfriend, my adult son, my adult daughter, and my bandmate all to gain health insurance. What you call Obama’s folly now ensures that they get timely medical treatment and prescription drugs as needed. If you think the more than 20 million Americans who now have some insured access to health care are anxious for Republicans to kill off that insurance, targeting our elderly and poorest citizens in the process – to fund a tax cut for our wealthiest citizens – you need to travel in wider circles among We, the People. Most Americans want the high deductible problem and the prescription drug pricing problem fixed. Not sent back to the days when 1 of 6 lacked insurance, with premiums soaring and more losing coverage every day. Mend the Affordable Care Act, move toward single payer because that is the path to more affordable universal coverage.

  3. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 08/01/2017 - 03:54 pm.

    McCain voted FOR two previous versions of that awful healthcare legislation, before he voted
    against the “skinny” repeal bill at the dramatic end. Indeed, he voted to proceed to the fake discussion (shortened, and without substance), then for two bills that couldn’t pass because there were other Republicans voting against them. He voted three times for garbage, with his party leadership.

    He saved his “heroism” for that dramatic, late-night thumb’s down, knowing that two female Senators had steadfastly held that door open for him throughout the process.

    Collins and Murkowski, thus, are the only two Republican Senators who actually voted down the terrible substance, the content, of those so-called health care bills. Their steady courage was overshadowed by an old showman.

    We got a male peacock taking the chance to exert his revenge on a nasty clown (Trump) with that dramatic final vote.

    I’m not about to lionize a guy who, before that relief-causing vote, showed nothing but servile party submission. Brain tumor or not.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/07/2017 - 09:25 am.


      Old combat pilots often still retain a degree of chutzpah that the rest of us mere mortals rarely attain (the Current Occupant of the Oval Office being a sad and singular exception), but referring to McCain as a “peacock” strikes me as just a bit over the top. That said, your main point is well-taken. History (so far, usually written by males) may well give an inordinate amount of the credit to John McCain, but I agree that Collins and Murkowski seem to me to be the ones who held the line, and anything that diminishes the political stature of Mitch McConnell is likely to meet with approval in this household.

      Eric is not incorrect in pointing out the hypocrisy (or change of mind, depending upon one’s degree of admiration for the “straight talk” of the Current Occupant) of suggesting, during the campaign, that McCain’s capture and subsequent torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese rendered him less heroic than other pilots who were not shot down and captured, then effusively praising the hero’s return to the Senate. Then, McCain helped prevent the Current Occupant from violating one of his most-often-repeated campaign pledges that “everybody will be covered” by a better health insurance system than exists under the ACA. I’d have liked to have been the proverbial fly on the wall of the Oval Office when the news arrived of McCain’s “no” vote…

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