Barack Obama and Donald Trump's reactions to John McCain's death says a lot about the two presidents
Barack Obama rose above bipartisan politics as he released a heartfelt statement on sen. McCain's death, but President Trump assumed two lines on Twitter would suffice.
Senator John McCain died on Saturday following a battle with brain cancer at the age of 81 years. Even as the hearse carrying the body of the celebrated war veteran and Arizona senator arrived in uptown Phoenix on Saturday evening, tributes poured in not just from the hundreds of people gathered outside the AL Moore Grimshaw Mortuary but from across the country, including those from his political friends and foes.
The senator died just a day after his family released a statement evealing that they would be discontinuing treatment, the nation took a moment to remember the veteran who was captured behind enemy lines during the Vietnam War.
One thing that stood out in the stocktaking was the contrast in the reactions between President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama over Mccain's death.
Obama and McCain ran against each other during the 2008 presidential election, and McCain was critical of several of Obama era policies. Nonetheless, Obama took the time to release a heartfelt statement, praising the long-time Republican as a man who made sacrifices for the greater good.
McCain was faithful to “something higher — the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed,” Obama said.
Our statement on the passing of Senator John McCain: pic.twitter.com/3GBjNYxoj5— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 26, 2018
In spite of all their many differences, the former president acknowledged that both he and McCain both viewed their political battles as a “privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home and to advance them around the world.”
Obama said few people have been tested as much as McCain was but that “all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump, who is from the same party as John McCain, and has been infamously locked in a snubbing spree of the senator, took to his favorite social media platform to put out what can be best described as a half-hearted acknowledgment of the Senator's passing. Trump dedicated just two lines to Mccain, tweeting: "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
There was no word from the president about a man who spent decades serving the nation.
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2018
Of course, it's no big surprise that Trump spent fewer characters on McCain than practically anything else that he tends to rant about on the social media platform. Recently, during his public address for a fundraiser in Ohio, he spoke about literally everything else (including a shoutout to Kim and Kanye West) apart from the failing health of John McCain. This was on the day the McCain family announced that he would be ceasing medical for his condition, and a day before he died.
Trump feuded relentlessly with McCain, a former presidential nominee who insisted on decency and dignity in politics and repeatedly spoke out against Trump's rhetoric and actions. McCain even withdrew his support for Trump during his 2016 presidential run after a 2005 recording was released, where Trump infamously boasted about "grabbing women by the pussy" and kissing them without their consent.
“It’s not pleasant for me to renounce the nominee of our party. He won the nomination fair and square. But this is — I have daughters. I have friends. I have so many wonderful people on my staff. They cannot be degraded and demeaned in that fashion,” McCain said at the time.
In fact, before he died, as Fox News points out, McCain requested that former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama give eulogies at his funeral.
It's surely a strange time when a fellow Republican president fires off just an off-handed tweet to mourn the loss of a fellow party member while a former Democrat president releases an elaborate statement for the same. It clearly goes on to show the contrast between the two presidents and their diplomatic sensibilities.
Barack Obama's full statement on Sen. John McCain's death:
John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed. We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way.
Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.