President Donald Trump is not noted for being taciturn, and Arizona Senator John McCain doesn’t suffer fools. So, that the two would butt heads would seem all but inevitable, but McCain’s Liberty Medal speech is just the latest shot in a lengthy war. Let’s run down a brief history of the barbs these two have exchanged, which all began around the time that Trump announced his presidential candidacy.
- July 18, 2015: Trump fires the first shot by saying that he “likes people who weren’t captured,” which was a reference to McCain’s years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Trump refuses to apologize despite enormous criticism from GOP leadership, including from McCain’s good friend, Senator Lindsay Graham.
- July 21, 2015: Trump delivers an apology on Bill O’Reilly’s show that many viewed as insincere.
- September 9, 2015: Trump’s remarks are revived again when it comes out he believed going to prep school was better than actual military service in terms of service to one’s country.
- August 1, 2016: McCain distances both himself and the GOP from Trump’s attacks on the service of Humayun S. M. Khan and his parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan:
“In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents. He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates.”
- August 2, 2016: Trump refuses to endorse McCain for reelection. The refusal has no impact whatsoever on McCain’s poll numbers.
- October 8, 2016: McCain withdraws his endorsement of Trump over the Access Hollywood hot mic scandal.
- October 11, 2016: Trump complains that McCain won’t vote for him and refers to him as “foul-mouthed.”
- November 1, 2016: John Kasich symbolically votes for McCain.
- November 21, 2016: In response to Trump’s remarks about “enhanced interrogation,” McCain bluntly informs Trump that the U.S. is not allowed to torture people.
- January 11, 2017: It’s revealed that John McCain informed the FBI of the notorious Steele dossier, which included, among other claims, that Trump paid prostitutes to urinate on a bed in which Obama once slept.
- February 2, 2017: After a bizarrely contentious call with the Prime Minister of Australia, John McCain expresses America’s unwavering support for the nation. Later in the year, it will be revealed McCain has been quietly working in foreign policy, smoothing over Trump’s missteps.