President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked the late Sen. John McCain in the past weeks, for reasons known largely to himself. On Wednesday, Trump escalated his feud with a dead man, launching into an unprompted rant about McCain’s funeral (among other things) during a speech at a tank factory in Lima, Ohio.
“I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as president, I had to approve,” Trump said. “I don’t care about this, I didn’t get a thank you — that’s okay. We sent him on the way. But I wasn’t a fan of John McCain.”
This is an extremely confusing series of sentences. My best guess is that Trump is referring to the fact that he personally authorized the use of Air Force 2 to fly McCain’s body from Arizona to Washington, DC (where the funeral was held).
It’s not the same thing as authorizing the whole funeral, as Trump appears to be taking credit for, but it’s something. It seems as though the president is salty that McCain’s family didn’t thank him for the use of the plane and is venting about it at a speech.
But that’s not even the most telling thing Trump said during his McCain diatribe. At one point, he vents about McCain’s role in the beginning of the Russia investigation.
You might recall that McCain played an instrumental role in bringing the Steele Dossier — the source of the “pee tape” rumor and more grounded evidence of Trump-Russia ties — to the FBI’s attention. McCain received a copy of the dossier late in 2016, before it was public knowledge, and quietly sent it over to the appropriate authorities.
Trump believes he shouldn’t have done this:
In Trump’s view, a senator presented with serious and terrifying allegations about the president-elect shouldn’t turn those over to the appropriate authorities. No, this information should be shared with him alone, and the fact that McCain did what most people would call the right thing only proves how much he hates Trump.
This isn’t the logic of a public servant, to put it mildly.
Trump didn’t have to say any of this. It’s not a hostile interview or a televised debate. It’s just a speech, where he decided — for no reason at all — to say stuff that makes him sound guilty and angry at a man who’s been dead since last August.
Our president is extremely normal.