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 McConnellDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' Pelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence MORE (R-Ky.) appeared to break with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE on Wednesday, calling the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Anti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid McCain's family, McCain Institute to promote #ActsOfCivility in marking first anniversary of senator's death 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 GrahamWhite House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts GOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Cindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death 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."