Pete Buttigieg hits Trump over McCain criticisms

Pete Buttigieg hits Trump over McCain criticisms
© Greg Nash

Prospective Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday admonished President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE for his latest attack on former Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain#JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday #JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday New poll finds little GOP support for spending cuts to specific federal programs MORE (R-Ariz.), accusing the president of going after the late senator for attention.

"When a president (who faked a disability in order to avoid serving) attacks a departed war hero, it’s for attention," Buttigieg tweeted. "We should honor the late Senator McCain, and also follow his example by focusing not on the behavior of the president but on the future of our country."

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Trump received multiple deferments from the draft during the Vietnam War and did not serve in the military. The New York Times reported late last year that a family doctor diagnosed Trump with bone spurs as a "favor" to his family.

Buttigieg, who served in the Navy and is the mayor of South Bend, Ind., came to McCain's defense after the Arizona Republican became the focus of Trump's criticism on Wednesday, the fourth time in the last five days.

The president spent five minutes on Wednesday afternoon jabbing at McCain during an official White House event intended to highlight manufacturing in Ohio. McCain died of brain cancer in August.

"I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as president I had to approve. I don’t care about this. I didn't get 'thank you.' That's OK," Trump told workers at a tank factory in Lima, Ohio.

"We sent him on the way, but I wasn’t a fan of John McCain."

The president stoked controversy in the days after McCain's death last year when he delayed lowering flags to half-staff and offering an official statement. He later did not attend McCain’s funeral, at the family’s request.

The president on Wednesday explained that he dislikes McCain because of his connection to a dossier of claims about the president and Russia as well as his vote against a Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare and his support for the Iraq War.

Trump has in recent days gone after McCain, specifically over the dossier and the late senator's 2017 vote against the repeal of ObamaCare. 

A number of Republicans have condemned the president's attacks against their former colleague. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) on Wednesday said Trump's criticism of McCain was "deplorable" and showed a "lack of respect" for the Arizona Republican's military service.

Others, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have defended McCain in recent days without invoking the president's name or latest criticisms.