McConnell calls McCain a 'rare patriot' and 'American hero' after Trump criticism

McConnell calls McCain a 'rare patriot' and 'American hero' after Trump criticism

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Trump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (R-Ky.) appeared to break with President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE on Wednesday, calling the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEleventh Democratic presidential debate to be held in Phoenix Moderate Democrats now in a race against the clock Biden on Graham's push for investigation: 'I don't know what happened' to him MORE (R-Ariz.) an "American hero" after recent criticism he received from the president. 

"Today and every day I miss my good friend John McCain," McConnell tweeted. "It was a blessing to serve alongside a rare patriot and genuine American hero in the Senate. His memory continues to remind me every day that our nation is sustained by the sacrifices of heroes."

McConnell's tribute comes during a week in which Trump has lobbed numerous attacks against the former Arizona senator. Trump went after McCain on multiple occasions over the weekend after reports surfaced that one of the then-senator's associates had shared a dossier of allegations about Trump's ties to Russia with the media. 

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"So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) 'last in his class' (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election," Trump tweeted on Sunday. "He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!"

Trump doubled down on his criticism on Tuesday, telling reporters at the Oval Office that he was "never a fan of John McCain."

"And I never will be,” he added. 

McCain, who served in Vietnam before a long career in public service, died of brain cancer in August at the age of 81. McCain spoke out against Trump repeatedly during his final years in the Senate, and drew the president's ire after voting against the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare in 2017.

Trump has occasionally derided McCain since his death for voting against the effort. Many Democratic lawmakers have condemned Trump's most recent comments. Some GOP lawmakers have also come to McCain's defense. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk Lawmakers wary as US on cusp of initial deal with Taliban MORE (R-S.C.) praised McCain's service to the U.S. on Sunday, saying that "nothing about his service will ever be changed or diminished."