We are all aware that class is not Donald Trump’s strong suit. In fact, I think it’s a fair statement to say that the man has none at all. But in today’s administration, there appear to be many more who have no class, no dignity, no sense of propriety. Perhaps the ‘man’ at the top has set the tone for all, or perhaps it is simply that he has surrounded himself with people just like himself – crass and vulgar.Senator John McCain is dying of a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer. For his entire life, he has served his country well. McCain is a genuine American hero – one who fought and suffered for his country in the theater of war and has dedicated the better part of the last four decades of his life to public service as a House member, a senator and a two-time presidential candidate. He is not a man who deserves to be derided, and this certainly is not the time for derision.
McCain has not been able to return to Washington for several months, but nonetheless on Wednesday, he felt compelled to issue a statement calling on his fellow-senators to reject Trump’s nominee for Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel. Haspel, as an undercover operative, was directly responsible for much of the torture that took place in the years following 9/11, and during her confirmation hearings, she refused to admit that such torture methods are inhumane and morally wrong. McCain was captured, held and tortured for years (1967-1973) during the Vietnam War.
“However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.”
The next day, special assistant Kelly Sadler made the derisive comments during a closed-door White House meeting of about two-dozen communications staffers.
“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”
Ms. Sadler wasn’t the only one who had something snide and rude to say. Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, appearing on a Fox Business program, said …
“Well she can’t use it anymore because we have determined in Congress that it’s not legal. The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John,’”
McInerney’s comment is false.
McCain has already begun planning his funeral and has requested both Presidents Obama and George W. Bush to give eulogies, but has indicated that he does not wish Donald Trump to be at his funeral. This is understandable in light of an ongoing contentious relationship between the two, starting in 2016 during the presidential campaign when Trump claimed that in his book, McCain was not a hero because he was captured. I would not, under any circumstances, want Trump within 5,000 miles of my funeral! But Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah had to say …
“I think that’s ridiculous. He’s the President of the United States. He’s a very good man. But it’s up to John. I think John should have his wishes fulfilled with regard to who attends his funeral.”
A ‘good man’? Seriously??? I think not.
I concur fully with former Vice President Joe Biden, who said …
“People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday. Given this White House’s trail of disrespect toward John and others, this staffer is not the exception to the rule; she is the epitome of it.”
And there were others who shared his outrage:
“Our nation should be grateful for the exemplary service and sacrifice of [McCain], and treat this war hero and his family with the civility and respect they deserve.” – Senator Joni Ernst, Iowa
“It’s a sad day in this country when White House officials are mocking a man who was tortured as a prisoner of war. He’s more than earned the right to speak out on these matters. A public apology should be issued immediately.” – Representative Walter Jones, North Carolina
“Whatever one’s differences with John, he’s a patriot who has served our nation selflessly and honorably and deserves our respect.” – Senator Jerry Moran, Kansas
“Look, John McCain is a hero. No two ways about it. John McCain, I mean he gave his entire adult life for this country. John McCain fought for us in Vietnam, was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, came home and dedicated his life to public service. His vocation in life was making life better for people and better for the country. There are so many accolades I could heap on a John McCain.” – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan
“I spend a lot of time trashing politicians. This [John McCain] is about the one I’ve admired above all others over the last quarter century.” – Dana Milbank, OpEd columnist, The Washington Post
There have been many times that I disagreed with John McCain’s position on certain issues, but he has, I have always believed, had the best interest of the nation and the people in mind. I have never heard him speak disrespectfully to anyone. I have the utmost respect for this man. Perhaps he is among the last of a dying breed, people who believe in dignity, in civil discourse, and in respect for others. I’m sorry to say that those things have gone by the wayside in our government since January 20, 2017.