John McCain mocks Trump's draft-dodging over 'bone spurs'
Donald Trump and John McCain have had an open political beef for nearly two years now. McCain, representing the old-style of conservatism, the neocon Bush years and the traditional approach to governance, was a major obstacle for Trump's brand of populism, nationalism and anti-globalism. As two opposed ideological wings, they had to clash. However, that clash became intensely personal.
It all started with Trump's remarks in July 2015, regarding McCain: "He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
McCain was captured by North Vietnamese forces for almost six years. Defending his comment, Trump went on to say:
"People that fought hard and weren't captured and went through a lot, they get no credit. Nobody even talks about them. They're, like, forgotten. And I think that's a shame, if you want to know the truth."
So, Trump has challenged the record of a veteran who is also a senator, and emerged from it all unscathed. It's a very bizarre thing, right? If any other politician said this, that would be the end of their career. But Trump is teflon. Reality TV and decades of fame make him more of a talking head, and people treat his comments more loosely. It helped him to get elected.
So now, Trump and McCain share a frosty relationship. But again, this is mostly personal. McCain votes with Trump 83.3% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. It's not as if they have major disagreements - both are still content enough with the Republican Party to prevent major infighting, an infighting that many expected.
But recently, McCain has seen fit to hit back against Trump, who has singled out McCain as a Republican who isn't fully on-board with his Presidency. In a C-SPAN interview about the Vietnam War, McCain said:
"One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve."
This has been widely interpreted as a dig against Trump, who deferred service in Vietnam five separate times, citing 'bone spurs' as making him unfit to fight. McCain denies that was his intention, but the internet has responded the way it chose, and McCain was certainly unconsciously aware of the bone spurs in Trump's feet, and the hypocrisy of calling out a veteran for not being good enough while deferring service yourself.
Senator McCain was also recently diagnosed with brain cancer, and has returned to the Senate after well-wishes from ex-President Obama as well as Donald Trump. What do you think? This McCain-Trump beef seems to largely be a circus to displace focus from policy. But one sounds like a broken record with all those views, preaching for others to pay attention to the 'right' things.