Within hours of the death of Arizona Senator John McCain, President Donald Trump did everything that he was supposed to do. The White House released a statement honoring McCain, and flags were ordered to half-staff. Trump personally Tweeted about the matter, sending his “deepest sympathies and respect” to the family.
Most respectably of all, Trump honored one of McCain’s last wishes, however petty it was: He did not attend the Senator’s funeral.
Grandstanding for Me, Not for Thee
But of course, that didn’t stop those in attendance from turning the affair into an occasion for obnoxiously self-righteous mudslinging, with each speaker taking turns attacking the President as directly as possible without actually naming him, while at the same time delusionally declaring themselves to be the paragons of bipartisanship and civility. This included former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and most prominently, the Senator’s daughter Meghan.
In so doing, they all proved their blatant hypocrisy in being as political and partisan as possible, in an event that they demanded remain apolitical. As Julie Kelly said on Twitter, those who demanded that McCain’s death and funeral not be politicized were the first ones to do just that.
Perhaps they would’ve done well to take a page from the playbook of those attending Aretha Franklin’s funeral; rather than waste your time and energy throwing shade at other people, just keep the focus on the person in the casket. (That’s a memo that Bill Clinton apparently didn’t get.)
In the same vein, the egotistical ABC reporter Jonathan Karl tried to catch the President in another “gotcha” moment in the Oval Office. While the President was speaking to reporters about the newly-negotiated bilateral trade deal between the United States and Mexico, Karl asked the President about McCain well over half-a-dozen times in the span of a few minutes.
Trump had said all he needed to say with his official statements. He even went above and beyond when the NDAA that began the process of re-implementing the United States Space Command, as the first step in creating the new United States Space Force, was named in McCain’s honor.
Yet this opportunistic and virtue-signaling media slime tried to make it appear that Trump was refusing to honor McCain, despite all of his most recent efforts. The episode definitely contained echoes of the nontroversy during the election when the media tried to claim that Trump didn’t disavow David Duke, even though he had already done so on multiple occasions.
ABC, naturally, tried to portray Trump’s silence as some form of disrespect or that Trump was pretending to not hear the questions. However, it is far more likely that the simplest answer is correct, and that Trump was simply adhering to the old advice that many of us learned at a very young age: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. In so doing, he proved to be far more mature in his silence than those who loudly claimed to be honoring McCain.
You’re Nothing to Me Now
The pettiness that defines all of these people, of course, was more or less justified in their minds by the man they have spent the last few days worshiping. McCain himself just couldn’t resist getting in his little jabs at Trump even as he was literally dying. But his pettiness went even beyond his feud with Trump, when it was confirmed that there was one other very conspicuous non-invitee to his funeral: His running mate from the 2008 election, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
This was a whole new level of shocking, compared to the much more hyped non-invitation of President Trump. Palin was arguably McCain’s most loyal supporter in the 2008 race, and after he brought her into the national spotlight as his vice presidential pick, she immediately became the media’s biggest target that year. While McCain had previously been only somewhat ridiculed and derided as a tired old man—especially in contrast to the younger Barack Obama—Sarah Palin suddenly found herself bearing the full brutality of the Left’s onslaught as soon as she was announced.
From the mockery and satire of “Saturday Night Live,” to the vitriolic labeling of Palin as a backwards redneck, with even her own family unwittingly dragged into the political scene as an excuse to further attack Palin herself, it was she—not McCain—who suffered the majority of the Left’s slings and arrows until the election was finally over. Even after the McCain-Palin ticket lost, the anti-Palin viciousness never fully stopped.
And even then, all McCain could think about in his final days was not her loyalty, not her shielding him from the Left’s full ugliness in the final months of the campaign, but instead a child-like determination to “stick it to her” and dis-invite her from his funeral, for God knows what reason.
Trump has been described as “loyal to a fault,” for better or for worse. And this has, as of lately, led to a number of high-profile betrayals from some of his formerly loyal followers for political gain, even after he had trusted them fully. But at least Trump understands a thing or two about loyalty, which is more than can be said for McCain.
Pettiness Masked as Greatness, and Vice-Versa
And that truly shows what the media is unsuccessfully trying to mask with their endless heaps of empty praise: Pettiness. Pettiness was all that drove McCain in his final years; from his betrayal of his constituents, his party, and his country by voting against Obamacare repeal just to spite Trump, to his final days involving the last-minute crafting of his very own “enemies list” of people to not invite to his funeral, McCain could only focus on attacking people he didn’t like, rather than helping the ones he cared about.
He couldn’t even think about the possibility of resigning from his office as soon as he received the fatal diagnosis, and spending his last days with his family and friends like any other decent person would do. Rather than resign so that he could spend all his time seeking the appropriate medical treatment, surrounded by those he loved, he chose to cling to the office until the bitter end. In doing so, he presented a serious inconvenience to all of his colleagues, if not the entire country, by virtually holding up all major business in the Senate due to the Republican Party’s razor-thin majority.
Throughout all of this, even despite their own glaring hypocrisy, the media has repeatedly insisted that their one unstoppable safeguard against criticism of McCain is his military service, and the fact that he was a war hero who suffered unimaginable pain for years in a North Vietnamese POW camp (as if respecting the troops, or patriotism in general, has ever really mattered to the Left before).
As has been said many times before and clearly needs to be said again, you can respect one’s service to this country, and the suffering they endured on America’s behalf, and also criticize their backwards and detrimental political actions at the same time. McCain’s military service does not negate his poor political choices, and vice-versa. Otherwise, if we all blindly followed this same logic, then would the anti-Semitic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Little also be immune to criticism due to the fact that he served with the Marines in Afghanistan? Of course not.
To the same ends, one of the criticisms repeatedly leveled against Trump is his lack of military service (although this too has not mattered to the Left in the past, in the cases of Clinton and Obama). This, some claim, is the reason Trump will never be as “great” as McCain was.
Yet despite the world of difference between McCain’s extensive service record and Trump’s non-service, their actions truly do speak louder than their words; Trump succeeded where McCain failed by winning the presidency and using it to actually help the American people, while McCain was literally eulogized by one of his Senate colleagues as having “taught us how to lose.” Trump, for all his lack of military service, understands foreign policy far better than did the ultra-hawkish McCain, who relentlessly championed the idea of more Middle Eastern wars that would undoubtedly cost more American lives if it were up to him.
But in the end, even with the seemingly-endless onslaught of unfair criticism, President Trump has continuously taken the moral high ground, while former presidents, the media elite, and even the Senator’s family alike continue their wailing hypocrisy.
The entirety of the Trump versus McCain ordeal can perhaps best be summarized by Tom Cruise’s final line in the all-American classic, A Few Good Men: “You don’t need to wear a patch on your arm to have honor.” That’s a truth that many people can't handle.