(USA TODAY) In what are probably Sen. John McCain’s last months, the former POW and Republican presidential nominee has been denounced as a traitor, a collaborator, an egomaniac, a blowhard, a fake, a liberal and, worst of all, irrelevant.
It’s a sign of the times, says Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political historian: “We’ve devolved to the point politically where everything is fair game.’’ Even illness and death.
McCain, diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, has mostly been lionized by fellow members of Congress, constituents and the public. But:
- A White House staffer joked in a meeting that the administration didn’t need to worry about McCain’s opposition to the candidate for CIA director because he was dying; after the comment became public, the White House issued no apology.
- Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a Fox News analyst, claimed that when McCain was held during the Vietnam War “torture worked on John. … That’s why they called him ‘Songbird John.’’’
- When it was reported that McCain did not want Trump invited to his funeral, McCain’s fellow Senate Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah termed the desire “ridiculous.’’ (Hatch later apologized.)
Online, McCain is commonly accused, despite the findings of an official inquiry, of negligence in a Vietnam War aviation accident that killed 134 on the carrier USS Forrestal. He’s also been called a crybaby and an egomaniac, “a liberal in wolf’s clothing’’ and “the foulest mouth in the Senate.’’
On Twitter, someone asked: “Who’s got John McCain in the Dead Pool?’’
One tweet with McCain’s photo, headlined “TRAITOR,” falsely accuses him of giving information “that led to the downing of 60 aircraft’’ and training “North Vietnamese air defense personnel.’’
These slanders do not go unnoticed. McCain’s daughter Meghan tweeted of the TRAITOR claim, “I regret responding to such a hideous comment.’’ Read the full story at USA TODAY.