White House

‘I was never a fan of John McCain,’ Trump again goes after the late Senator

President makes clear he holds grudge over vote to repeal 2010 health law

From left: Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., President Donald Trump, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., exit the Capitol after the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon on March 14. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump is not backing down from his attacks on the late Sen. John McCain, on Tuesday saying he was “never” fond of the Arizona Republican.

On Sunday, Trump fired off a tweet with several inaccuracies criticizing McCain for his role in getting a dossier allegedly containing negative information about then-businessman Trump. He erroneously tweeted that McCain was “last in his class” at the U.S. Naval Academy.

That is false: McCain was fifth from the bottom.

“I was never a fan of John McCain,” Trump told reporters Tuesday in the Oval Office. “And I never will be.”

[Trump overshadows Brazilian president’s visit by attacking Kellyanne Conway’s husband]

Trump said he was “very unhappy” that McCain voted against a GOP bill that would have repealed and replaced the 2010 health law.

Such remarks have drawn rebuttals from McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, who went after the president Monday on “The View.”

“[Trump] spends his weekend obsessing over great men because — he knows it and I know it and all of you know it — he will never be a great man,” she stated. “My father was his kryptonite in life, he’s his kryptonite in death.”

The renewed attacks on McCain come just as the late senator’s friend Sen. Lindsey Graham is scheduled to headline the Lincoln Day Dinner for the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, which is Friday night. The event featuring the South Carolina Republican will be held — of course — at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.

Though Trump and his Brazilian counterpart are scheduled to hold a joint press conference, the U.S. leader took numerous questions at the start of his meetings with new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

“All options are on the table” for dealing with the political unrest in Venezuela, Trump declared, not ruling out U.S. or Brazilian military action. (On Monday, a senior Trump administration official told reporters that the White House sees Bolsonaro’s military as having sway with Venezuelan military leaders, which could prove key to driving out strongman Nicolas Maduro.)

[‘Tens of thousands’ of documents received in response to Democrats’ requests]

“We don’t want to say exactly,” the U.S. president said, saying he and Bolsonaro are discussing “different things” for resolving the crisis facing Brazil’s neighbor.

White House officials have made a show of the Brazilian leader’s visit. Back home, Bolsonaro is known as the “Trump of the Tropics” for his similarities in style and policy substance to the American president.

The senior administration official described Trump’s goal for the visit as creating a “north-south axis” between the two countries.

“Clearly, we have seen, since day one, President Bolsonaro’s election as a real opportunity to fundamentally remake our relationship with Brazil,” the senior official told reporters on a conference call Monday.

“Our trade with Brazil will go substantially up,” Trump predicted the next day, “and that’s one of the things Brazil would like to see.”

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this story. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.