With their disrespectful treatment of late senator and war hero John McCain, many Republicans have chosen their Trump fandom over human decency.
McCain was publically antiTrump and refused in his dying days to vote for Trump policies despite his 32 years of loyalty to the Republican Party as a senator. Unsurprisingly to many, this made McCain a target of both Trump and Trump supporters for the last few years of his life, before dying after a long battle with brain cancer Saturday, Aug. 25.
In addition to his political career, McCain spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and refused to be released early, instead insisting that those who were captured before him be released first. Many Trump-supporting Republicans seem to have forgotten McCain’s service to America and should be ashamed of the way they treated him in his dying days and after his death. Following the lead of Trump, who insulted McCain by saying he’s only a war hero because he was captured and that he likes people who weren’t captured, Trump supporters turned their backs on McCain, a man who faithfully and honorably served the party during his political career.
Maybe most disrespectful was Trump’s decision to go against the wishes of his staff and not release an official statement honoring McCain and instead, in true Trump fashion, posting a Tweet that offered condolences to the McCain’s family but makes zero mention of his legacy. Trump also did not order flags to be flown at half-staff on the Monday after McCain’s death until receiving much pressure from veterans groups requesting that he do so.
Politically, I understand why many Republicans occasionally had differences of opinion with McCain. After all, he earned his “Maverick” title much in part because of his tendencies to be non-partisan in voting on some important issues.
One of the most memorable accounts was in July of 2017 when he voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act, a decisive vote that prolonged Republican efforts to repeal the act. McCain also famously defended former U.S. President Barack Obama and his character as they ran against each other for the presidency when a woman referred to Obama as an “Arab” in a derogatory way.
McCain’s bipartisanship earned him much respect from Democrats and Republicans alike, but many Trump supporters showed little of that respect to McCain in his final days as he battled brain cancer. The top comment on a Fox News Facebook post about McCain’s 106-year-old mother visiting his casket reads, “McCain betrayed Americans when he voted against Repealing Obamacare.” The comment, which stands as one of the more reserved attacks against McCain, both on that post and in general, serves as an excellent example of the disrespect shown for a man who once had the support of nearly 60 million voters (only three million less than Trump) during his presidential run.
I didn’t often agree with McCain politically, as many on both sides of the political spectrum didn’t, but I did respect him. He often crossed party lines to vote for what he felt was right for the American people, and that is a quality we should hold in high regards. It saddens me to see people follow in the footsteps of Trump and to disrespect a man who deserved better.
I’d like to ask for more people to offer respect where it is due. Also, please think critically about who does and doesn’t deserve your respect, as many people that President Trump attacks are not deserving of that treatment.