Senators on both sides of the aisle rallied to the defense of the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Wednesday, after President Trump launched a fresh round of attacks against the senator’s legacy this week.
“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.”
McCain was highly regarded by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for both his bipartisan approach to negotiation, his six-term service in Congress and his military service -- where he served in Vietnam and was held prisoner and tortured for more than five years.
But Trump and McCain repeatedly sparred with one another. In 2015, after McCain had said Trump's platform had "fired up the crazies," Trump had mocked McCain's imprisonment in the Vietnam War, saying: "I like people that weren't captured."
But since McCain’s death last year of brain cancer, Trump has not abandoned the feud.
“I was never a fan of John McCain, and I never will be,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday, citing in particular McCain’s vote against the repeal of ObamaCare in 2017.
“He campaigned on repealing and replacing ObamaCare for years and then it got to a vote and he said thumbs down,” Trump said.
Over the weekend, he blasted McCain for giving to the FBI an uncorroborated dossier alleging that Moscow held compromising information on Trump.
He quoted former Independent Counsel Ken Starr as saying this was "unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain."
"He had far worse 'stains' than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!" he tweeted.
That caused Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, to say he “can’t understand” why Trump would go after McCain, whom he called “heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God.”
On Tuesday, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., told conservative outlet The Bulwark that "America deserves better" and that nobody "is above common decency and respect for people that risk their life for your life."
“I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better, I don’t care if he’s president of United States, owns all the real estate in New York, or is building the greatest immigration system in the world. Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Democrats joined in pushing back against Trump’s comments, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. announcing Wednesday that he intends to introduce a resolution re-naming the Russell Senate Building after McCain -- calling him an "American hero."
Fox News' Liam Quinn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.