The Truth About The Long-Standing McCain And Trump Family Feud

While the late Arizona Senator John McCain and former President Donald Trump were both prominent Republican politicians, there was no love lost between the two. Though the senator passed away in 2018, but Trump and the McCain family still want nothing to do with each other. In fact, Cindy McCain publicly supported President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election with Trump, according to NBC News. And Meghan McCain, as co-host on "The View," said "He doesn't look good" about Trump's 2021 appearance at the North Carolina Republican Party state convention (via Decider). But where did it all start? Buckle up, it's quite the ride.

It started back in 1999. Trump went on "60 Minutes" to tease a presidential run. In the interview with Dan Rather, Trump said of John, "The question is: Does being captured make you a hero? I'm not sure." This was in reference to John having been shot down on a bombing run in Vietnam in 1967, and spending five and a half years as a prisoner of war, two of which were in solitary (per CBS News).

Things really kicked off when Trump started campaigning to be the Republican presidential nominee. In June 2015, John was asked if Trump would end up as the Republican candidate, and the former senator was dismissive. "I don't think so," John stated. This was shortly after Trump said Mexican immigrants were "rapists" and drug smugglers, and John went on to explain, per azcentral, "I just disagree with his comments about the, quote, Mexicans."

McCain and Trump didn't agree on immigration

In July 2015, Donald Trump held a campaign rally in John McCain's home state of Arizona and continued his attack on immigrants and McCain, telling a crowd, per The Washington Post, "We have incompetent politicians, not only the president. I mean, right here, in your own state, you have John McCain." 

McCain didn't let things slide, however, and he made it clear he felt Trump's rhetoric on immigrants was dangerous. "This performance with our friend out in Phoenix is very hurtful to me," McCain told The New Yorker. "Because what he did was he fired up the crazies."

Later that same month, Trump returned to his 1999 verbiage. At an event in Iowa, the former president stated, "[McCain's] not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured" (via Politico). The comment was derided by those from both sides of the aisle, but Trump never apologized (per Business Insider). At the same event, Trump also said, "I think John McCain's done very little for the veterans. I'm very disappointed in John McCain."

McCain fired back again, per azcentral, stating, "He said that I haven't done anything for veterans. The last two major pieces of legislation were done by me, and we handle thousands — literally thousands — over time of veterans cases, of helping them. I'm proud of our record of helping our veterans, and every veterans organization, after what Mr. Trump said, came to my defense."

McCain shut down Trump's dream of dismantling Obamacare

Donald Trump won the Republican nomination, and while John McCain disagreed with his policies and didn't attend the Republican National Convention when Trump was formally nominated (from USA Today), he still supported Trump as the party nominee. And with that tacit support and with McCain facing reelection in the Senate, Trump went on the record to say, per The Charlotte Observer, "I hold in the highest esteem Sen. John McCain for his service to our country in uniform and in public office, and I fully support and endorse his re-election."

But with the October 2016 release of the Access Hollywood footage of Trump explaining how as "a star" he could do anything he wanted to a woman, McCain withdrew his support for Trump, according to azcentral, stating, "It's not pleasant for me to renounce the nominee of my party; he won the nomination fair and square. But I have daughters. I have friends. I have so many wonderful people on my staff. They cannot be degraded and demeaned in that fashion."

Both men won their elections in November 2016, but they still never saw eye to eye. Trump had worked hard to dismantle the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare, and it was the dramatic thumbs down from John McCain in July 2017 that stopped the attempt to repeal the law (from The Washington Post). This happened just a few weeks after McCain announced he had brain cancer (via Business Insider).

The feud continued after John McCain's death

John McCain passed away in 2018, but the grudge continued over his funeral. The White House only lowered the flags to half mast in honor of McCain after public outcry, according to Politico. The Atlantic reported that Donald Trump said at the time, "We're not going to support that loser's funeral." McCain's wife Cindy didn't invite Trump to the funeral (to help keep it dignified) and she said the comments Trump made about McCain's military service have stayed with her. "I don't know if I'll ever get over it," she stated, per Time. "I'll be honest."

In a 2020 news conference, Trump was asked if he regretted what he said about McCain not being a hero, to which he responded, "Look, I say what I say. And I never got along with John McCain ... I respected him, but I really disagreed with him on a lot of things. And I think I was right; I think time has proven me right, to a large extent."

And with Cindy, a registered Republican, publicly supporting Joe Biden over Trump for president in the 2020 election, it seems that the McCain/Trump feud isn't coming to an end anytime soon.