Editorial | Grudge carrier in chief

Editorial | Grudge carrier in chief

President Donald Trump has pulled off a rare achievement. His bizarre attacks on John McCain have stirred emotion, support and longing for a U.S. senator and war hero who died seven months ago. It's inevitable that someone will poll the relative favorability of the president versus someone who died last August.

Every day brings a new surprise from President Donald Trump, although recently it's been a consecutive days streak of attacks against the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. What's most surprising is that Mr. McCain died last Aug. 25, although Trump acts like they're still fighting over disagreements about health care, taxes, foreign policy or civility.

All of this outrage from the president — that he never considered McCain a hero or that he didn't get proper thanks for giving the senator "the kind of funeral that he wanted" — strikes most Americans as untoward. And ironically it's rekindled another round of respect, honor and admiration for McCain, like that expressed last summer as he was dying and for days after he passed. Meanwhile it diminishes again the president's stature.

Top Republicans in Congress are again jumping to McCain's defense — as if he needs it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated that the Arizona Republican is considered "a rare patriot and genuine American hero in the Senate." Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia called Trump's remarks "deplorable" and said the nation "deserves better" than Trump's disparagement. Sen. Mitt Romney wrote on Twitter, "I can't understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God."

As if to antagonize the president even more, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he'll renew his plan to rename the Russell Senate Office Building after McCain.

This is a no-win situation for Trump, but it has served to elevate John McCain's legacy once again.

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