GOP senator to publicly call out Trump for McCain attacks

Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonSenate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package Senators say they've reached deal on Puerto Rico aid MORE (R-Ga.) in an interview published on Wednesday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE’s recent attacks on the late 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.), telling The Bulwark he plans to publicly condemn them. 

“I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better,” Isakson told The Bulwark, a conservative website that has been critical of Trump. “I don’t care if he’s president of United States, owns all the real estate in New York, or is building the greatest immigration system in the world.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“When the president is saying that he doesn’t respect John McCain and he’s never going to respect John McCain and all these kids are out there listening to the president of the United States talk that way about the most decorated senator in history who is dead it just sets the worst tone possible,” Isakson told A.B. Stoddard, who wrote the piece for The Bulwark.

Trump sent a series of tweets over the weekend targeting McCain, who died of brain cancer in August.

On Monday Trump renewed the attacks during an Oval Office meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, calling McCain’s vote against repealing and replacing ObamaCare “disgraceful” and adding that “he was never a fan” of the Arizona senator and never would be.

Isakson, the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, told Stoddard he felt compelled to “elevate” McCain.

Isakson’s criticism comes after Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMcConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' 'Landslide' for Biden? A look at 40 years of inaccurate presidential polls MORE (R-Utah) took to Twitter on Tuesday to push back against Trump’s remarks.

“I can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God," Romney tweeted.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), who was one of McCain’s closest friends in the Senate, also defended him on Twitter over the weekend. “Nothing about his service will ever be changed or diminished,” Graham tweeted.