Lindsey Graham says it ‘p***** me off’ when Trump speaks poorly of John McCain

Senator hits out at Trump for 'disturbing' response to friend's death

Emily Shugerman
New York
Friday 31 August 2018 02:40
President Trump's attack on John McCain 'pisses me off to no end,' Sen. Lindsey Graham says

Senator Lindsey Graham has blasted Donald Trump’s response to Senator John McCain’s death, calling it “disturbing” and saying it “p***** me off” when the president speaks poorly of his late friend.

“I am going to do everything I can to help President Trump, and when he's wrong, I will say so,” Mr Graham said. "It bothers me greatly when the president says things about John McCain. It p***** me off to no end, and I let the president know it.”

Mr Graham spoke out in an interview with CBS News that aired on Thursday, less than a week after McCain died from an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The Arizona senator – a longtime friend of Mr Graham – had a tense relationship with the president, whom he criticised for his comments about women, his friendliness with Vladimir Putin, and a host of other political issues.

Mr Trump refused to issue a personal statement after McCain’s death, opting instead for a tweet offering his condolences to the senator’s family. The White House also returned its flag to full mast on Monday – just two days after it was lowered to honour McCain’s passing – in a move that sparked outcry from legislators and veterans’ groups.

Mr Graham said he had not called the president directly about the flag, but had reached out to “some people around him” to express his displeasure.

The South Carolina senator has a sporadically friendly relationship with the president, with whom he has occasionally been seen golfing. Last week, Mr Graham supported Mr Trump in his battle with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying the president “deserves an attorney general he feels confident in”.

Mr Graham said he would not stop working with Mr Trump in light of his response to McCain’s death, claiming the best way to honour the senator’s legacy was to help his country.

But he added that he would advise the president to emulate McCain, saying: “McCain was big man worthy of a big country. Mr President, you need to be the big man that the presidency requires.”

John McCain's final words are read out as the Senator is laid to rest

Mr Trump was not invited to McCain's memorial service on Thursday in Arizona, where his long-time chief of staff Grant Wood, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and former Vice President Joe Biden all spoke.

In an emotional speech, Mr Biden described the senator as a "cock-eyed optimist", noting that the disease that killed McCain had also taken the life of his son, Beau Biden.

The disease, Mr Biden said, "takes so much from those we love – and from the families who live them – that order to survive, we have to remember how they lived, not how they died".

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