SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump ignores lessons from John McCain's life

President Donald Trump is in no mood to take lectures from John McCain and the weeklong national civics less...

Posted: Aug 31, 2018 1:38 PM
Updated: Aug 31, 2018 1:38 PM

President Donald Trump is in no mood to take lectures from John McCain and the weeklong national civics lesson the Arizona senator sketched with his own funeral rites.

On a day of poignant juxtaposition, McCain's flag draped coffin left his beloved home soil of Arizona for the last time Thursday after his friends eulogized a life embroidered with honor, self-sacrifice, American exceptionalism and the idea of serving a cause greater than oneself.

2016 Presidential election

Arizona

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Eastern Europe

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Europe

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Investigations

Joe Biden

John McCain

North America

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Politics

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

Southwestern United States

The Americas

United States

US Federal elections

US federal government

US Presidential elections

White House

Leaving Washington to mourners, Trump flew west and unspooled the kind of brazen campaign trail performance -- tearing at the nation's political and cultural divides and bashing institutions such as the Justice Department -- that McCain planned his final goodbye to repudiate.

The former combat pilot's last flight ended in the gathering dusk of Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, as McCain was borne back to the capital, where he was once a ubiquitous figure, for the first time since December. Though McCain never became president, the military ceremony and sense of solemnity had the historic sense of a state occasion.

Less than an hour later, Trump, soaking in the adulation of a wildly cheering crowd, strolled on stage in Indiana to the strains of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" and opened his speech with a boast about his 2016 presidential win in the state and his economic record.

"Where the hell did she come from?" Trump asked, as his supporters booed a lone protester escorted from the arena, before bashing "dishonest, terrible" people in the media and lambasting the "old and corrupt ruling class," of which America could be "ashamed."

Chants of "lock her up, lock her up," echoed through the arena, aimed at Hillary Clinton.

The split screen moment of Trump, the showman in his element on stage, and Washington grandees gathering to mourn McCain, exemplified competing strains between traditional establishment politics and grassroots insurgencies at radical wings of each party that may define the just-stirring 2020 presidential campaign.

With that in mind, it seems fitting that in the next stage of McCain's farewell, his coffin will rest Friday in the Capitol Rotunda on the catafalque that first bore the remains of Abraham Lincoln, the President who warned his nation that "a house divided against itself cannot stand."

A feud that will not die

Thursday's political theater personified the running feud that has raged between McCain and Trump even after the Arizona statesman's death from brain cancer on Saturday.

On the one side is politics McCain-style, in which a sometimes irascible temperament, relish for battle and dedication to conservatism did not preclude the late senator carving friendships across the aisle or seeking compromise on some of the most divisive issues.

By meticulously planning his funeral arrangements, including addresses by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama -- but not Trump -- McCain spelled out a clear message that he believed the current administration had taken an un-American turn.

On the other hand is the raucous rejection of traditional Washington values exemplified by Trump, whose insurgent fury, fondness for conspiracy theories and contempt for convention inspired Americans who felt rejected by the very political elites now lauding McCain.

Nearly two years since Trump's shock 2016 election win, McCain's brand of politics may be sorely missed by those who idealize it. But the President has the power, a fact that raises questions whether the nostalgia for McCain is also a valediction for a fading mode of politics.

Trump did not mention McCain at his rally. But earlier, he told Bloomberg News that he didn't think he had done anything wrong in his grudging response to his foe's death.

"We had our disagreements and they were very strong disagreements. I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believed in," Trump said.

The values that McCain revered were encapsulated in a moving eulogy by his friend and Senate sparring partner, former Vice President Joe Biden at a memorial service in Phoenix.

"It was always about basic values with John: Fairness, honesty, dignity, respect; giving hate no safe harbor; leaving no one behind; and understanding that as Americans, we're part of something much bigger than ourselves," Biden said.

A volatile week, even by Trump's standards

Most politicians are ego driven, hungry for the next headline and sometimes attack the motives of their rivals, a practice Biden decried in his speech. But most take pains to hide such traits, and a few, such as McCain, honestly reflect on their own transgressions in a way that forges bonds with the public.

But Trump makes no attempt to disguise such behavior. His quintessential political insight was to put it at the core of his campaign trail persona -- and it helped him capture the Republican Party and the presidency. His unapologetic style is one reason he refused to temper his behavior in the week of McCain's passing -- and further alienated the more conventional politicians who loved the Arizona senator.

Trump's most fervent supporters would probably not recognize qualities in the President that Biden saw in McCain. But that is exactly what made him so popular with a political base ready to embrace a scorched earth candidate.

The proof has been everywhere in a week that has been volatile even by Trump's standards and suggests the President has little time for the notion that politics is about a cause greater than the individual. Often as he boasts about ratings and his poll numbers and his 2016 election triumph, it seems that for Trump, it's all about him.

Over the last week, Trump reacted to comparisons between him and McCain by offering lukewarm tributes and only belatedly lowering the flag over the White House to half-staff.

His determination to continue to wage a quarrel with a dead man exemplified his intense sensitivity to slights and prompted critics to conclude that he fails to put the wider duties of the office of the presidency above his personal image and preoccupations.

In the same vein, Trump's relentless humiliation of Jeff Sessions is born out of an often expressed resentment that the attorney general put his loyalty to the law before his personal fealty to the President by recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

Trump also obsessed about his press coverage and complained that Google was censoring favorable stories about him. He issued a defensive statement to rebut criticism of his personal handling of the North Korea nuclear crisis. He insisted his team had done a "fantastic job" when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, despite new figures showing that nearly 3,000 people died in last year's disaster.

Almost every day Trump slammed the "rigged Russia witch hunt," along with the FBI and the Justice Department, pillars of the political system that McCain saw as essential parts of the foundation of US democracy.

It reflected a presidency that is becoming less and less conventional the longer it goes and often seems to revolve almost exclusively around the whims and outbursts of Trump himself. There's no chance that the focus on McCain and the politics and civic sensibilities he prized will change minds in the GOP base. Whether it will rouse other sectors of the electorate will begin to be answered in the midterm elections in November.

Lafayette
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 40°
Kokomo
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 34°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 34°
Lafayette
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 40°
Danville
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 37°
Frankfort
Mostly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 35°
Frankfort
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 35°
Monticello
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 35°
Monticello
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 35°
Logansport
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 34°
Brief Snow & Freezing Ahead....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708067

Reported Deaths: 13224
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion964881721
Lake51704945
Allen39185672
Hamilton34497405
St. Joseph34075540
Elkhart27306432
Vanderburgh22077394
Tippecanoe21818212
Porter17940299
Johnson17526374
Hendricks16803310
Clark12688190
Madison12350337
Vigo12211244
Monroe11462166
LaPorte11140204
Delaware10356184
Howard9662211
Kosciusko9127114
Hancock7979139
Bartholomew7888155
Warrick7684155
Floyd7560176
Wayne6899198
Grant6842171
Boone6552100
Morgan6395138
Dubois6084117
Marshall5783108
Dearborn570076
Cass5684102
Henry5577100
Noble542483
Jackson493269
Shelby479095
Lawrence4342118
Gibson428789
Harrison428170
Clinton419053
Montgomery417986
DeKalb410984
Whitley379639
Huntington379480
Miami372565
Knox366389
Steuben365257
Putnam352660
Jasper350546
Wabash347778
Adams337952
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308354
Daviess289299
Wells286381
Decatur278992
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268833
Scott261153
Clay253444
LaGrange253070
Randolph235680
Washington230931
Spencer227931
Jennings224747
Fountain208745
Sullivan207842
Starke204352
Owen192256
Fulton191739
Jay186129
Carroll185820
Perry180336
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113645
Newton103934
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82815
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
Unassigned0409

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events