Trump disrespects American hero’s legacy

Giuseppe Vitulli, Sports Editor

Sen. John McCain, one of the greatest American politicians in our nation’s history, died on Aug. 25, after a long and agonizing battle with brain cancer. 

While America mourned the loss of a great man, husband, father, politician, war hero and American, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, continued to dwell on a feud with the senator and was incredibly disrespectful to the fallen soldier following his tragic death.

When a prominent political figure or war hero like McCain passes away, the president is expected to follow certain traditions to honor the public servant. When McCain died of stage 4 brain cancer, Trump was reluctant to follow these traditions.

Traditionally, the procedure that would be followed after McCain’s death would consist of an effusive statement from the White House and a proclamation to lower flags surrounding Washington D.C. to half-staff until the date of the burial. 

Despite the typical procedures, the flag was sitting at its normal height on the morning of McCain’s death and after extensive amounts of criticism over the unorthodox decision to keep the flag raised, it was finally lowered at  4 p.m.

Additionally, according to an article published by The Washington Post on Aug. 26, Trump reportedly refused to issue a statement praising McCain’s career and legacy.

Trump settled for a short and inconsiderate tweet that neglected to mention McCain’s career, life, or legacy: ”My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Sen. John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

When moderator Frank Luntz described McCain as a “war hero,” Trump proceeded to mockingly say, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” 

Trump, the Commander in Chief of the United States of America, said that a former naval pilot who was  taken prisoner for almost six years during the Vietnam War, given the opportunity to leave the camp, refused to leave without the rest of his men, and then was mercilessly beaten day in and day out until the war ended, was not a war hero. 

It should be noted that while McCain was serving his country in the Vietnam War, Trump was repeatedly avoiding getting drafted and has been accused of being a “draft dodger” after receiving five deferments 

According to an Aug. 1 The New York Times article, four of those deferments came while Trump was attending college at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and Fordham University.

After Trump graduated, he was no longer eligible for educational deferments and was able to avoid getting drafted a fifth time after Trump told The New York Times, “I had a doctor that gave me a letter — a very strong letter on the heels,” the article stated.

Trump’s hatred for the Arizona Republican would only increase when McCain was the deciding “no” vote in the Republicans’ Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill. Trump argued that the move was made out of spite.

Following his shocking “no” vote, McCain said that “We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of the aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”

McCain would also take plenty of shots at Trump both before and after his election, ridiculing him for dodging the Vietnam War draft and saying his campaign is “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”

Even after McCain’s death, the feud continued as McCain notified friends months before his passing that he didn’t want Trump to attend his funeral.

McCain’s funeral consisted of numerous political figures from both the Democratic and Republican parties. Every person in the funeral, regardless of political standpoints, sat next to each other and for that entire service, no one was a representative of a political party, but everyone was a representative of America.

McCain showed by seating political adversaries next to each other, that he believed the country was more important than politics.

While McCain’s funeral service took place, President Trump spent his day golfing and retweeting his own posts scrutinizing the investigation into Russian election interference and bragging about the thriving economy. It is also worth noting that, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, attended the funeral.

It is unfortunate that during a time that we should be celebrating the life and legacy of one of the greatest Americans to ever call this country home, we have to deal with Trump’s childish resistance to paying his respects to the former Arizona Senator. 

John McCain was a model citizen during his lifetime and will never be forgotten. McCain devoted his entire life to helping make America, the greatest country in the world.  Regardless of whether Trump respects him or not, John McCain is the “American Dream” personified. 

The United States Congress, including Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, cooperated in deciding to have Senator McCain lie in state.

Lying in state involves laying the deceased person’s body in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, where the public can come and offer their final respects. Lying in state is an honor reserved for presidents, military commanders, and members of Congress. McCain was the 31st person to receive the high honor. 

Hopefully someday, President Trump will realize that John McCain played an integral part in our country and was not only a great politician but a great American. 

The lack of respect that Trump displayed concerning McCain’s tragic death is yet another blemish on an already appalling presidency riddled with scandal, conspiracy, collusion and chaos. 

Trump’s response to McCain’s death has reminded Americans just how thick-witted and petty he really is. 

Sen. McCain played an integral part in our country’s history and was not only a great politician, but a great American, and nothing Trump says or does will ever be able to take that away from McCain and his legacy.