President Trump to sign defense authorization bill bearing John McCain's name
Culled from ABC News
When President Donald Trump heads to Fort Drum in upstate New York Monday to celebrate the signing of the 2019 military authorization funding bill, he will have a hard time ignoring the man whose name is attached to it: John McCain, ABC News reported.
The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 was named in honor of the longtime Arizona senator and former prisoner of war who is chair of the Senate Armed Service Committee and currently battling brain cancer.
“I am particularly humbled that my colleagues chose to designate legislation of such importance in my name," McCain said earlier this month in a statement from his home in Arizona where he is receiving care.
"I have found high purpose in the service of a cause greater than self — the cause of the women and men in uniform who defend America and all she stands for," he said. "I look forward to the president quickly signing it into law.”
Whether the president, who has criticized and mocked McCain, will join other lawmakers in a public tribute to McCain will be closely watched.
In June, at the signing ceremony of the “VA MISSION Act of 2018," another bill bearing McCain's name, Trump never mentioned McCain by name. Instead he praised multiple members of Congress who were at the White House for the signing.
The 2019 defense authorization bill provides $717 billion to the military, which Trump will likely tout as a campaign promise fulfilled. But it also notably advances many of McCain's policy priorities, including tough language on Russia.
Aside from policy differences, the president has a long-running personal feud with McCain going back to the presidential campaign, when then-candidate Trump said McCain’s five years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War don’t qualify him to be called a “war hero.”
"He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured,” Trump famously said of McCain back in 2015.
Their rocky relationship hit a low point when McCain withdrew his support of Trump as the party's nominee following the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape in October.
"When Mr. Trump attacks women and demeans the women in our nation and in our society, that is a point where I just have to part company," McCain said of his decision to drop his support of Trump.
Trump fired back at McCain, calling him “very foul mouthed” on Twitter.
More recently, Trump continues to fume openly about McCain’s vote against the Republican plan to repeal of President Obama’s hallmark Affordable Care Act. Trump will frequently blame “one guy” for tanking the GOP’s effort during stump speeches.
“I had Obamacare done except one guy at 2 o'clock in the morning went in and said, he went thumbs down, even though he campaigned for years repeal and replace,” the president said to the boos of the crowd earlier this month during a rally in Pennsylvania.
In reality, three Republican senators voted against the GOP repeal bill. McCain was joined by Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.