Our National Cathedral is not an appropriate setting for partisan behavior. On Saturday last, there were in effect two ceremonies. One for John McCain, senator, Navy veteran and prisoner of war, where he was given a suitable, stately, well-attended funeral service.
The second service, writes Conrad Black in American Greatness, detracted from the first by the enemies of President Trump. Clearly hostile references by former president Barack Obama and Senator McCain’s daughter to the incumbent president (who had facilitated the protracted funeral week with official favors) were in appalling taste.
There was what amounted to an attempted hijack of the funeral of an authentic war hero and prominent senator, to convert it into an expression of anger and of contempt for the absent president. This campaign was torqued up all week by the Trump-hating media, who then gave maximum play to the gratuitous shots of Obama and Meghan McCain.
Donald Trump uttered the most unfortunate of all his acidulous criticisms of opponents when he said in 2015 that Senator McCain was mainly a hero because of his performance as a prisoner. This may have been largely true but was extremely ungracious. Anyone who was in combat over the territory of a well-armed enemy country is a brave person.
If the statement of then-candidate Trump is to be evaluated fairly it should be remembered that McCain had accused him of mobilizing “the crazies“ in a packed-out campaign appearance he made in the senator’s home state. There is plenty of room to disagree with McCain‘s attitude toward illegal immigration (and a great many other positions he held), but it was provocative for him to have described Trump supporters in his own state in the terms he did.
John McCain’s contempt for Trump was no secret. There was nothing redemptive that McCain saw in Trump, precisely the type of person McCain would react to negatively.
(Donald Trump) did not serve in the armed forces, but he did make a great deal of money, and he was elected president of the United States—two events absent in McCain’s curriculum vitae, whose political career was largely financed by his wife and her family. He was one of the most inept candidates for president since George McGovern.
The senator had every right to dislike the president and the president had an equal right to dislike the senator. Even those most admiring of McCain have acknowledged that he had a bad temper and at times was a nasty man. That quality was certainly in evidence in his dramatic casting of a decisive vote against the repeal of Obamacare, a policy goal he had pledged to support.
Those who attended McCain’s funeral and turned it into a partisan occasion did no honor to John McCain or themselves. On this occasion, the performance of President Trump and his intimates was exemplary.
Throughout the week, the president and his family and administration were the soul of discretion and respect, ignoring the media repurposing of the obsequies as a Trump-bashing orgy. Obama’s comments reminded us of why the American public has substantially rejected the 20 years of public policy personified by the chief official mourners.
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