US President Donald Trump has attacked the late Senator John McCain, complaining that he “didn’t get a thank you” for his state funeral.
“We sent him on the way, but I wasn’t a fan of John McCain,” the president said during a visit to an Ohio tank factory.
Mr Trump has repeatedly assailed the late Arizona senator in recent days, reigniting a feud that dates back to before his presidency.
The Vietnam War veteran died of brain cancer last August at the age of 81.
What did President Trump say?
During his visit on Wednesday to the tank factory in Lima, Ohio, the president renewed his assault on McCain.
“I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as president I had to approve,” he told workers at the factory.
“I don’t care about this, I didn’t get a thank you. That’s OK.”
Mr Trump approved the military flight of McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington, but it was Congress that accorded the late senator the honour of lying in state.
The US president said McCain “didn’t get the job done for our great vets and the VA” by refusing to repeal Obamacare and attacked him for “a war in the Middle East”, in reference to the senator’s support for the Iraq War.
“Not my kind of guy,” the president said. “But some people like him and I think that’s great.”
What’s the background?
The president revived his spat with McCain on Saturday by tweeting that the late senator had backed the so-called Steele dossier, an unverified 2016 document by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, claiming ties between Mr Trump and the Kremlin.
On Sunday, Mr Trump went after McCain again, saying the “last in his class” senator had sent “the Fake Dossier to the FBI”.
Asked by a reporter about his attacks while hosting the Brazilian president at the White House on Tuesday, Mr Trump said: “I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be.”
Mr Trump has regularly clashed with McCain going back to his presidential campaign.
Feuding with a dead man
By Anthony Zurcher, BBC senior North America reporter
Donald Trump is feuding with a dead man.
It all began in 2015 when John McCain condemned then-candidate Trump’s allegation that Mexico was sending rapists into the US.
Mr Trump responded by questioning the Arizona senator’s heroism as a prisoner during the Vietnam War.
At the time there was a chorus of condemnation from across the Republican Party and predictions that the New York businessman’s White House hopes were ruined.
It didn’t turn out that way, of course. Mr Trump not only won the White House, he has moulded the Republican Party in his own populist, pugilistic image.
Now Mr Trump’s outbursts against the late senator are met mostly with silence from within his own party. Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson stands out as one of the few to sharply rebuke the president’s remarks.
Mr Trump clearly believes leaning into this now one-sided fight benefits him politically. There are plenty of conservatives who never liked McCain, and they will love the president even more for not backing down.
The feud helped launch Mr Trump’s presidential bid, and it’s a wave he will ride till the very end.
What’s the reaction?
Mr Trump’s attacks this week on McCain have drawn sharp condemnation from across the political spectrum, with Republican Senator Johnny Isakson calling the remarks “deplorable”.
“The country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better,” Mr Isakson told the conservative Bulwark news site, arguing that when the president insults “the most decorated senator in history… it just sets the worst tone possible”.
His Republican colleague, Senator Lindsay Graham, called McCain “an American hero” and said Mr Trump’s comments “hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Senator McCain”.
Sen. Graham: “I think the president’s comments about Sen. McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Sen. McCain … I don’t like it when he says things about my friend John McCain.” pic.twitter.com/GD9lppUIWt
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 20, 2019
The late senator’s family have also assailed Mr Trump.
His daughter, Meghan McCain, told ABC’s daytime talk show The View that her father would find it “hilarious that our president was so jealous of him that he was dominating the news cycle in death”.
No one will ever love you the way they loved my father…. I wish I had been given more Saturday’s with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on twitter obsessing over mine? https://t.co/q7ezwmHiQ4
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) March 16, 2019
McCain’s widow Cindy told the BBC in the months after her husband’s funeral that she may never get over the president’s attack on his status as a war hero.