Trump Slammed After Escalating Attacks on McCain: He’s “Beefing With a Dead Man—and Losing”

The president resurrected his feud with the late Arizona senator this week, months after his death.

Kyle Mazza/ZUMA

President Donald Trump has drawn rare, bipartisan condemnation this week after he revived his attacks against the late Sen. John McCain—first over the weekend on Twitter, then on Tuesday when he told reporters that he was “never a fan” of McCain, and once again on Wednesday during a visit to an Ohio tank plant when he expressed bitterness for not being thanked for supposedly approving the “kind of funeral” the Arizona senator had wanted.

“I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted which as president I had to approve,” Trump told the crowd of factory workers in Lima, Ohio. “I don’t care about this. I didn’t get a ‘thank you,’ that’s okay.” 

Trump’s remarks did not appear to receive a warm reception. His claim, that he alone had approved the logistics of McCain’s September funeral, was also immediately disputed, with many pointing out that it was the responsibility of Congress to arrange the burial proceedings for the six-term Arizona senator.

“I really can’t believe Trump is beefing with a dead man—and losing,” the Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah said during a segment on Wednesday. “Who’s he going to go after next? Albert Einstein, big dummy. How can E equal MC? They’re different letters!”

Trump’s renewed feud with McCain, who before his death had been a frequent and harsh critic of both the president’s behavior and policies, also attracted rare condemnation from Republicans this week—though some were less direct than others.

“It’s deplorable what he said,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) said during a radio appearance Wednesday. “That’s what I said on the floor of the Senate seven months ago. It will be deplorable seven months from now if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out.”

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that Trump’s attacks were “twice as unacceptable” in McCain’s death than they were when the senator was alive. “I just think it’s a shame that the president lets himself down to that kind of level. We will be lucky if everyone in Washington followed McCain’s example because he represented courage.”

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, who shared a close relationship with McCain but is now a fierce Trump ally, criticized the president for the harsh comments, arguing such attacks “hurt him more than they hurt the legacy” of McCain. But he offered to continue helping the president.

Other Republicans have been less direct in their rebukes, opting instead to praise McCain while still not criticizing the president.


We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.