I admire Sen. John McCain for his bravery, patriotism, and public service. Further, I can understand why he would have animosity toward President Trump, in light of then-candidate Trump's untoward comments about McCain's war record.
Having said that, I am disturbed by Sen. McCain's continued attacks on our president, including his recent request that President Trump not attend his funeral.
First, McCain should know better than to play into the left and its media enablers' game, whereby just about every Republican is attacked as a racist. Indeed, civil rights icon John Lewis alleged that McCain's 2008 general election rallies were similar to those held by George Wallace. A McCain campaign video was compared to "an over-the-top parody of fascist campaign propaganda from a movie, and sounds like Triumph of the Will." The Obama campaign claimed that McCain was playing racial politics for daring to suggest that Obama was pre-emptively accusing him and the GOP generally of racism. Obama himself stated that Republicans would try to scare voters by pointing out that he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
Of course, these are standard tactics by the left. Leading Democratic figures and their mainstream media supporters charged George W. Bush with (1) not caring "about black people," (2) being our modern-day "Bull Connor" (the racist Birmingham Democratic police commissioner who in 1963 turned fire hoses and attack dogs on civil rights protesters), (3) using "Nazi tactics and propaganda," (4) working with "digital brown shirts," (5) being a "fascist" and the closest thing in a long time to dictator of the world," and (6) targeting Holocaust victims. Antiwar demonstrations routinely featured "Bush as Hitler" imagery. Journalists spoke about trying the administration Nuremberg-style for waging the Iraq War. Especially rich is the frequency with which Dem senator Robert Byrd, ironically a former Klansman, launched such attacks. A book featured a jacket with Dick Cheney sporting a Hitler-esque mustache made of oil.
The loathsome and smug New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called Mitt Romney a "charlatan," pathologically dishonest, and untrustworthy. He said Romney doesn't even pretend to care about poor people and wants people to die so that the rich can get richer. Romney is "completely amoral," "a dangerous fool," "ignorant as well as uncaring," said Krugman. Another commentator deemed Romney "dangerous" and "scary," and a celebrity said, "If you're a woman, you should be very, very scared." Obama ran an ad against him portraying Romney as uniquely dangerous for women. "I've never felt this way before, but it's a scary time to be a woman," said a woman in the ad. Romney was frequently called a "bully," "anti-immigrant," "racist," "stupid," and "unfit" to be president.
Second, not only did McCain not respond aggressively to the attacks made against him, but he ran a weak, uninspired campaign against Obama. It is true that a number of factors contributed to Obama's victory, including the financial collapse (and that McCain seemed over his head in discussing finance and the economy), that Obama was a good candidate who outspent McCain by 5 to 1 (McCain was boxed in by accepting federal money for the general election and by his support for campaign finance reform), and that picking Sarah Palin as his running mate hurt his argument that he was the more experienced candidate. But it is also true that McCain pulled his punches by hardly attacking Obama's connections to racists like Jeremiah Wright and terrorists like Bill Ayers. (One also has to wonder about the McCain campaign's weak oppo research, which failed to uncover the recently surfaced 2005 photo of a smiling Sen. Obama with Louis Farrakhan.) McCain's defeat subjected the country to eight years of failed progressive policies by Obama, who divided the public with his focus on redistribution and identity politics.
President Trump, on the other hand, worked hard to become president, routinely doing six or seven campaign stops a day and campaigning in states recent Republican candidates set foot in only for fundraising events. In contrast, McCain seemed to disappear for days during his failed run. Trump took the fight directly to the left and the media, whereas McCain seemed to prefer to lose "honorably" to doing what it took to win.
In any event, Trump, with his string of economic, judicial, and foreign policy accomplishments in just a short time, has been quite successful in cleaning up Obama's mess. Perhaps McCain, in his dying days, is feeling regretful about his campaign against Obama and perhaps a bit jealous that Trump, unlike him, made it to the White House.
It is not too late for Senator McCain to go out graciously. The most senior GOP senator, Orrin Hatch, agrees: President Trump ought to be invited to McCain's funeral in Washington, D.C.