Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Sunday that he doesn’t understand why President Trump has revived his criticism of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain.
While admitting that he didn’t always see eye to eye with McCain, Rubio said he respected the longtime lawmaker and Vietnam veteran for his service to the country and was confused as to why Trump continued to attack McCain and his legacy months after the seantor’s death.
“I don’t get it, I don’t understand it,” Rubio said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “I didn’t agree with John McCain on everything but so what? I honored and I respected his service to the country and his time in the Senate. I always felt he did things he felt passionate about.”
Trump last week slammed McCain during a speech to workers at an Army tank plant in Ohio – criticizing the deceased lawmaker for his support of the United States’ wars in the Middle East and his infamous vote against repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
Trump tore into McCain’s legacy and in an unusual remark, and took credit for the late senator’s state funeral in Washington late last year.
“I endorsed him at his request, gave him the kind of funeral he wanted, which as president of the United States I had to approve,” Trump said.
“I don’t care, but I didn’t get a thank you.” “I never liked him much,” Trump said. “I really probably never will.”
The president’s recent criticism of McCain and his legacy has rankled many members of his own Republican party – with many GOP lawmakers speaking out in defense of the late Arizona senator.
“Today and every day I miss my good friend John McCain,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tweeted. “It was a blessing to serve alongside a rare patriot and genuine American hero in the Senate. His memory continues to remind me every day that our nation is sustained by the sacrifices of heroes.”
Trump’s feud with McCain dates back to well before he was elected president.
In 2015, after McCain had said Trump's platform had "fired up the crazies," Trump mocked McCain's imprisonment in the Vietnam War, saying: "I like people that weren't captured."
The two continued to be at odds until McCain’s death from brain cancer last year.
While Trump had remained quiet about his dislike of McCain since the senator’s death, over the weekend the president renewed his attacks on McCain and blasted giving the FBI the uncorroborated Steele dossier alleging that Moscow held compromising information on Trump.
“Spreading the fake and totally discredited dossier ‘is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain.’ Ken Starr, Former Independent Counsel,” Trump tweeted. “He had far worse “stains” than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!”
Megan McCain, the late senator’s daughter and a co-host on ABC’s “The View,” tweeted early Wednesday: “As my father always used to say to me - Illegitimi non carborundum” – a mock-Latin aphorism loosely translated as "Don't let the bastards grind you down.” She followed up on “The View” by saying her father “would think it was so hilarious that our president was so jealous of him that he was dominating the news cycle in death.”