As President Donald Trump spoke at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual policy conference on Wednesday, there was a moment that some interpreted as him saying he’s happy John McCain is no longer alive.
Here’s the full transcript from the president’s remarks about his frustrations with the roadblocks to his agenda making its way through Congress.
“This lesson can be seen all over the world where the rule of law is eroded, where it is eroded the Democrats — even when we had both houses where we had Congress, where we had the Senate and we had wonderful congressmen, we had the House of Representatives and the Senate, but we didn’t have enough votes because it was very close. We needed 60 votes. And we had 51 votes. And sometimes, you know, we had a little hard time with a couple of them, right? Fortunately they’re gone now. They’ve gone on to greener pastures, or perhaps far less green pastures, but they’re gone. They’re gone, very happy they’re gone, and we have great senators, but we need 60. We have 53 right now and we had 51. We picked up two in the ‘18 election, but we need 60. So we need Democrat votes.”
Right off the bat, it’s important to note that Trump did not specifically name McCain while speaking of how “very happy” he is that certain people in the Senate “have gone on to greener pastures, or perhaps far less green pastures.” Nonetheless, the chances that Trump was implicitly referring to McCain is above 0%, so lets consider the circumstances before us.
If Trump was not attacking the late McCain once again, the alternative scenario is that he was delighting in the career demise of Republican Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake. While Trump has never hesitated in calling out McCain directly before, he has also repeatedly mocked Corker and Flake for criticizing him in the past. Corker was succeeded in the senate by fellow Republican Marsha Blackburn, but Flake was replaced by Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema, and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) was succeeded by Jacky Rosen (D) in the 2018 elections.
Of all the GOP senators who’ve gone rogue on Trump before, Trump has attacked McCain the most for dooming the 2017 effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump has continued this pattern of attacking the late senator, even after McCain’s death.
Trump’s remarks raised eyebrows, and certain factions of the Twitterverse are convinced that this was yet another jab at McCain:
Trump suggests he’s “very happy” the late Sen. John McCain is gone – even to “far less green pastures” https://t.co/8ZZ126Jkoo
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 26, 2019
2. For those saying Trump could be talking about Corker and Flake, a reminder that Trump obsesses over the ACA repeal vote for more than anything else when talking about rogue GOP Senators.
Corker and Flake voted for the repeal. McCain, famously, voted against it pic.twitter.com/Qx7257m2Ua
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) June 26, 2019
Trump insinuates McCain went off to “far less green pastures” and is glad about it ? https://t.co/G69Xor6cLx
— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) June 26, 2019
the president appears to be suggesting John McCain is in hell, but either way he’s happy he’s dead. https://t.co/gNoS5PETNU
— jess mcintosh (@jess_mc) June 26, 2019
I don’t know anyone else who is happy John McCain, a war hero and one of the most engaging pols any of us ever covered, is “gone.” https://t.co/V2s7EtVCKT
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) June 26, 2019
Others, however, are advising caution since Trump’s remarks might be too open to interpretation, which plays to his habit of making deeply offensive insinuations without saying the actual words:
The McCain thing aside, Flake was replaced by a Democrat, and Heller was replaced by a Democrat.
Trump apparently prefers having Democrats in those seats? https://t.co/i3mk4D9IIl
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) June 26, 2019
Before this goes viral, I don’t think it’s at all safe to assume he’s talking about McCain. He didn’t say it was McCain, and he’s repeatedly mocked the current post-politics pastures of two other former Republican sometimes-critics in the last Senate, Flake and Corker. https://t.co/IdjGwnlpWD
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 26, 2019
Worst case scenario: Trump is chortling over the fact McCain is dead and burning in Hell.
Best case scenario: Trump is chortling at the end of the political careers of Corker & Flake. https://t.co/uVftuYW7fG
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) June 26, 2019
Oh, please. Couldn’t possibly be Flake or Corker, right? He’s had no compunction about naming John McCain before. If he meant to scream at him across the great chasm, I don’t think he wouldn’t have hesitated. https://t.co/b3gJD2ji7a
— David Martosko (@dmartosko) June 26, 2019
Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker also sometimes voted against Trump and are out of the Senate – but still alive. As with many Trump lines, this one is open to interpretation https://t.co/oUVzzjDVlY
— Anthony Zurcher (@awzurcher) June 26, 2019
What is the truth here? You decide.
Watch above, via CBSN.
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