McCain Institute counters Trump criticisms with fact sheet about senator

The McCain Institute on Wednesday rebutted a number of criticisms levied by President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE in recent days, providing an extensive fact sheet denouncing the president's rhetoric on the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing Democrats need a 'celebrity' candidate — and it's not Biden or Sanders Juan Williams: The high price of working for Trump MORE's (R-Ariz.) behalf.

The think tank, which operates in partnership with Arizona State University, distributed a lengthy fact sheet that expanded on McCain’s military service, his track record on veterans issues and the Iraq War, and his views on ObamaCare and immigration. 

While it did not mention Trump by name, the document appeared to be a direct response to the president's latest wave of criticism directed at McCain. The longtime senator died in August after a battle with brain cancer.

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After taking aim at McCain via Twitter over the weekend, Trump on Wednesday unleashed a torrent of criticism of McCain during a White House event in Ohio that was ostensibly to promote manufacturing.

The president took aim at the Arizona Republican over his vote against a Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare, his support for the Iraq War and his connection to a dossier of Russia-related allegations against Trump.

"McCain didn’t get the job done for our great vets and the [Department of Veterans Affairs]," Trump said. "That’s why when I had my dispute with him I had such incredible support from the vets and on the military."

"Not my kind of guy," Trump added. "But some people like him, and I think that’s great."

The institute’s fact sheet sought to set the record straight on a number of the issues Trump raised.

It boasted that McCain "was among the Senate’s staunchest supporters of our men and women in uniform" and noted that last year’s National Defense Authorization Act was named after the late senator to commemorate his legacy.

The fact sheet pointed to McCain’s prominent role in drafting the Choice Act and the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act as well as his criticism of the George W. Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War. 

On ObamaCare, the fact sheet highlighted that McCain’s opposition to the 2017 vote was because of concerns about the legislative process as well as the lack of a replacement health care bill. 

In a direct jab at Trump's pledge to rid Washington, D.C., of corruption, the fact sheet asserted that McCain "was the original 'drain the swamp' Senator" in that he pushed legislation to limit the influence of money in politics.

McCain's namesake institution, which was founded in 2012, joined the late senator's family and former colleagues in rebuking the president over his personal attacks on McCain.

McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, has hit back at the president after each of his barbs in recent days. Early Wednesday, while co-hosting ABC's "The View," she said her father would "think it was so hilarious that our president was so jealous of him that he was dominating the news cycle in death."

A number of Republican lawmakers came to McCain's defense on Wednesday, both before and after Trump's remarks about McCain's funeral. The president did not attend the services last year and was criticized after he waited to lower flags to half-staff in McCain's honor.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) told a Georgia radio station that Trump's criticism of McCain was "deplorable" and showed a "lack of respect" for the Arizona Republican's military service.

McConnell (R-Ky.) praised McCain as a "rare patriot and genuine American hero."

"His memory continues to remind me every day that our nation is sustained by the sacrifices of heroes," he said in a tweet.