Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) ailments are obviously serious, and in an audio excerpt he recorded for his forthcoming memoir, the Arizona Republican conceded, “I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here.”
With this in mind, McCain is understandably making his wishes known, and as NBC News reported over the weekend, the senator has told the White House he doesn’t want Donald Trump to attend his funeral. Given the fact that the president has, among other things, questioned McCain’s military service, it’s easy to understand why the senator may feel that way.
What’s more surprising, however, is Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) publicly urging McCain to change his mind. Politico reported yesterday:
McCain prefers instead that Vice President Mike Pence attend his funeral rather than Trump, who has mocked McCain for being tortured and attacked him for voting against Obamacare repeal. But Hatch said he thought keeping the president from his funeral was too much: “I think it’s ridiculous.”
“Well, he’s the president of the United States and he’s a very good man. But it’s up to [McCain]. I think John should have his own wishes fulfilled with regard to who attends the funeral,” said the Utah senator. Asked whether McCain should change his mind about Trump, Hatch said: “I would.”
Let’s unpack this a bit, because I think it’s amazing. First, it’s difficult for me to imagine why Orrin Hatch thinks it’s any of his concern who does or doesn’t attend McCain’s services.
Second, if the Utah Republican has any evidence of Donald Trump being “a very good man,” I’m eager to see it.
But even putting that aside, there’s nothing “ridiculous” about McCain’s wishes. What seems far more ridiculous is the idea that he’d face partisan pressure at this point in his life about making his funeral services more pro-Trump.
I realize that in contemporary Republican politics, GOP officials face party obligations to vote the way their party’s president wants. But pressuring members to honor Trump after they’re dead seems more than a little excessive.
Update: A day after making the comments, Hatch apologized.