If Senator John McCain doesn’t want President Trump at his funeral, who can blame him?
Given Trump’s grace and compassion deficit, some countries don’t even want him dropping in for a visit. Look how long it’s taking to arrange a presidential trip to England.
Funerals are for people who loved and cared about the deceased, or at least respected them. Trump displayed none of that toward McCain. As a presidential candidate, Trump said the Arizona senator, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, is not “a war hero,” then added, “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Last February, McCain’s daughter, Meghan, mentioned on “The View” how “incredibly hurtful” it was when Trump referenced McCain and his vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Trump’s words provoked boos from the crowd — not for him, but for the senator fighting brain cancer.
McCain’s desire for a Trump-free funeral inspires musings about others with the same wish. The Clintons attended Trump’s marriage to Melania. But would “Crooked Hillary” want the current mourner in chief paying his last respects, after leading chants of “lock her up”?
The president didn’t attend Barbara Bush’s funeral, out of respect for the family, and to avoid creating a disruption, “due to added security,” the White House said. And while it’s true previous presidents have skipped funerals of other first ladies, how happy would “low energy” Jeb Bush really be to see Trump at his mother’s funeral? During the 2016 campaign, Barbara Bush said she didn’t know how women could vote for Trump and told CNN, “I’m sick of him.”
Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah kicked up more funeral controversy when he said McCain should change his mind and invite Trump — a notion that defies the meaning of last wishes. (Hatch later apologized.) In fact, Everplans, which bills itself as “the web’s leading resource for planning and organizing your life,” urges people, while living, to create a guest list for their funeral or memorial service, to be shared ahead of time with trusted family members. Which leads to thoughts of people who might embrace the prospect of Trump’s presence at their funeral.
Joe Arpaio comes to mind. After the former Arizona sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt relating to harsh treatment of undocumented immigrants, Trump pardoned him and praised him for “protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.” Then there’s Roy Moore. Trump endorsed the Alabama Senate hopeful even after he was accused of improper sexual contact with teenagers, calling Moore a “fighter.”
Ronny Jackson, the White House physician who gave Trump a glowing medical report, prompting Trump to nominate him to become the next Veterans Affairs secretary, might also be honored by Trump’s appearance. When Jackson’s nomination imploded in the wake of allegations that he drank on the job and was called “the Candy Man” because of a willingness to dole out prescription drugs, Trump still called him “an American hero.”
Rapper Kanye West calls Trump “my brother,” so he and his celebrity-addicted in-laws — the Kardashians — can host a farewell show featuring another reality TV star.
Trump might also score an invite for a Vladimir Putin send-off. Although he recently called Putin out for backing “Animal” President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, he also praised Putin’s intelligence and reveled in the good ratings they both got during appearances on “60 Minutes.”
But what about Trump? Who will go to his funeral, whenever that occurs?
Aside from family, the pews will likely be filled by those who respect the office of the presidency, no matter who holds it. Some of the weeping, though, won’t be for the departed, but for what he did to our country.Joan Vennochi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Joan_Vennochi.