Republican senator slams Trump for McCain criticism

Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, will denounce President Trump’s criticism of the late Sen. John McCain in a radio interview Wednesday afternoon.

“I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better, I don’t care if he’s president of United States, owns all the real estate in New York, or is building the greatest immigration system in the world,” Isakson said about Mr. Trump in an interview with the website The Bulwark on Tuesday evening. “Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us.”

Mr. Trump has mocked McCain’s time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and repeatedly slammed him for his vote against repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in July 2017. McCain, perhaps the last lion of the Senate, died of brain cancer in August.

Over the weekend Mr. Trump renewed his attacks on McCain over Twitter, blaming him for sending the Steele dossier to the FBI and falsely claiming that he was last in his class at Annapolis. The dossier, a collection of memos by former British spy Christopher Steele, contains unverified material detailing possible connections between Russian and Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. The president told reporters on Tuesday that he was “never a fan of John McCain and never will be.”

One of McCain’s closest friends in the Senate, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, issued two tweets praising McCain without mentioning Mr. Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney, a frequent critic of Mr. Trump, went a step further, writing on Twitter, “I can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain.”

After McCain’s death in August, Isakson said on the Senate floor that “anybody who in any way tarnishes the reputation of John McCain deserves a whipping.” The senator now intends to fulfill that promise with Mr. Trump, telling The Bulwark, “I want to do what I said that day on the floor of the Senate.”

“When the president is saying that that he doesn’t respect John McCain and he’s never going to respect John McCain and all these kids are out there listening to the president of the United States talk that way about the most decorated senator in history who is dead it just sets the worst tone possible,” Isakson said.

McCain’s daughter, Meghan, has engaged in a war of words with the president over Mr. Trump’s attacks on her father.

“No one will ever love you the way they loved my father…. I wish I had been given more Saturday’s with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on twitter obsessing over mine?” Meghan McCain tweeted in response to Mr. Trump on Saturday. The president replied by retweeting someone who said “WRONG Meghan! Millions of Americans truly LOVE President Trump, not McCain. I’m one!”

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