U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attends the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Aug.. 29, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. 
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty

Trump’s offensive against McCain isn’t just ugly, it’s also dishonest

In the wake of John McCain’s passing, Donald Trump made no real effort to hide his contempt for the late senator, taking cheap and unnecessary shots at the Arizonan for months. This week, however, the presidential campaign against McCain took an even darker turn.

Over the weekend, Trump lashed out at McCain for his grades at the Naval Academy, his opposition to a far-right health care gambit, and his willingness to turn the Steele dossier over to the FBI – which, incidentally, the president lied about. On Tuesday, Trump kept the offensive going during a White House visit with a foreign leader.

Congressional Republicans have reportedly begged the president to stop. Instead, yesterday, Trump did the opposite.

President Donald Trump hit the late Sen. John McCain with a fresh attack Wednesday, hammering the former prisoner of war as weak on veterans issues – and griping about the Arizona Republican’s funeral – during a speech at an Army tank plant in Lima, Ohio.

The full transcript of the remarks is online, and even by Trump standards, the speech was bizarre. He whined, for example, that he wasn’t thanked for McCain’s funeral, which is staggering in its pettiness, and which rested on a wild exaggeration of the president’s actual role in the services.

The president also suggested his Veterans Choice Act was proof that McCain “didn’t get the job done” for veterans, despite the fact that the law was signed into law before Trump took office – and was co-sponsored by McCain.

It’s one thing for a president to lash out publicly at a dead man who can’t defend himself; it’s something else for the president to do so while lying.

The larger question, meanwhile, is why in the world Trump is doing this.

The Washington Post reported overnight, “Some close to the president have attributed his frustrations to worrying over the looming report on Russian election interference from the special counsel’s office … while others said he simply has fewer advisers to restrain him from airing his grievances.”

Neither explanation casts the president in a flattering light. If the reporting is correct, Trump is either throwing a tantrum because he can’t handle the pressure, or because there aren’t enough grown-ups in the West Wing to restrain his worst impulses.

Or perhaps both.

For those concerned with the president’s stability, his frenzied anti-McCain rants are only going to raise the volume on some awkward questions.

Donald Trump and John McCain

Trump's offensive against McCain isn't just ugly, it's also dishonest