President Donald Trump was conspicuously absent from John McCain’s National Memorial Service because he didn’t receive an invite. What was Trump doing during McCain’s funeral?
He was tweeting. (Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, did attend the funeral; critics accused Ivanka of texting during the service, although it’s not clear what she was looking down at in a widely circulated video.)
In fact, Trump tweeted several times during the actual funeral services. As former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger praised John McCain’s character and war service during speeches at his funeral, Trump was whipping out these tweets:
“There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decade of abuse, Canada will be out. Congress should not interfere with these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off…….Remember, NAFTA was one of the WORST Trade Deals ever made. The U.S. lost thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. We were far better off before NAFTA – should never have been signed. Even the Vat Tax was not accounted for. We make new deal or go back to pre-NAFTA!”
Here are the actual tweets.
He posted one tweet twice.
During Meghan McCain’s eulogy, Trump was spotted getting into his motorcade to leave the White House, and reports said he headed to his golf club.
Trump also tweeted about other things on the morning of the funeral. He wrote, shortly before it was about to start:
“’You have a Fake Dossier, gathered by Steele, paid by the Clinton team to get information on Trump. The Dossier is Fake, nothing in it has been verified. It then filters into our American court system in order to spy on Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s political opponent……….Donald Trump, and now we find out that there wasn’t even a hearing – that Donald Trump’s 4th Amendment right to privacy was signed away…and someone in there is swearing that this stuff is true, when it wasn’t? This is the scandal here – a police state.’ Dan Bongino.”
He also tweeted: “Report: There were no FISA hearings held over Spy documents. ‘It is astonishing that the FISA courts couldn’t hold hearings on Spy Warrants targeting Donald Trump. It isn’t about Carter Page, it’s about the Trump Campaign. You’ve got corruption at the DOJ & FBI. The leadership……..of the DOJ & FBI are completely out to lunch in terms of exposing and holding those accountable who are responsible for that corruption.’ @TomFitton @JudicialWatch.”
In the early morning hours, he tweeted:
Meanwhile, speakers focused on McCain’s value system and some took swipes at Trump, although not by name.
“John believed also in a compassionate America guided by core principles for which American foreign policy must always stand,” Kissinger said.
Although John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain did not mention the president by name, to many in the room, the subtext was clear from her comments during her eulogy. “America does not boast because she does not have need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great,” she said, earning a round of applause despite the somber environment.
The comment was clearly a reference to Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again.
Meghan added: “The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege.”
Later in the day, Trump tweeted out his campaign slogan:
The funeral was attended by other former presidents, with Barack Obama and George W. Bush scheduled to give speeches, and Bill Clinton in the audience. Trump was not the only person to not make the list of invitees. McCain’s former runningmate Sarah Palin also didn’t get an invite.
Trump’s differences with McCain were in rhetoric and in policy. The president famously said McCain was essentially not a war hero because he was captured in Vietnam. That remark was roundly criticized. Trump was also upset that McCain killed the chance to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.