The Jury Talks Back


Zero Class

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:59 am

The flag at the White House is back up to full staff:


President Donald Trump reportedly rejected sending out a statement praising Sen. John McCain, opting instead to write a short tweet.

According to the Washington Post, Trump nixed the statement, despite calls from his senior aides, including press secretary Sarah Sanders and Chief of Staff John Kelly.

The statement, drafted before the senator’s death Saturday, would have commended the Arizona Republican for his military service and his decades in the Senate. It also would have called him a “hero.” A final draft of the statement was ready for the president’s approval, per the Post.

But Trump reportedly told his aides that he’d prefer to send out a tweet. In that missive, he was brief – and his words focused on the McCain family and didn’t offer praise for the senator’s legacy.

He doesn’t want to do anything to take back his campaign-era slander of McCain.

Petty, childish … and typical.


  1. Unlike most of his Senate peers, McCain never retracted his criticism of or expressed support for Trump, so Trump won’t back down either. But it’s Trump’s only option since image is the basis of his worth.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/27/2018 @ 8:19 am

  2. Trump is a petulant and petty child. This is disappointing and enraging, but not surprising.

    I had a conversation Friday night about how one of the worst things about the timing was that, because of Trump, McCain would not get the honor he deserved from the President upon his death. I wish I had been wrong.

    Comment by aphrael — 8/27/2018 @ 12:21 pm

  3. What campaign-era slander of McCain? McCain referred to a room full of Trump supporters as “crazies”, and Trump then said of McCain: “He insulted me, and he insulted everyone in that room… He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured… perhaps he was a war hero, but right now he’s said a lot of very bad things about a lot of people.”

    “He is a war hero” was not a slander.

    “Perhaps he was a war hero” was not a slander.

    “Crazies” was a slander, by McCain.

    And McCain did become a hero because he was captured. Had he no been captured, he couldn’t have declined early release, which was his most heroic act.

    If Trump never denied McCain was a hero, then saying otherwise is a slander of Trump.

    Comment by Andrew Hyman — 8/27/2018 @ 12:21 pm

  4. The person i’m absolutely furious at, though, is Kelli Ward, whose campaign page for a while on Friday included the allegation that the McCain family had timed its announcement of his ending treatment in order to cause problems for her campaign.


    Comment by aphrael — 8/27/2018 @ 12:22 pm

  5. Last year, Patterico wrote a very good blog post titled “John McCain’s Sanctimonious and Disgraceful Speech” (7/26/2017)

    Comment by Andrew Hyman — 8/27/2018 @ 8:53 pm

  6. Mr. Hyman, you like Trump’s politics more than McCain’s, as is your right. This isn’t about politics. This is about acting with humanity and compassion when someone has died. Trump eventually did that, although it took public pressure. That says something about him.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/27/2018 @ 9:57 pm

  7. And that was slander. Not only did Trump question whether McCain was really a war hero (“… perhaps he was a war hero …”), but Trump also implied that being captured means McCain did something wrong or was less of a hero because he was captured (“I like people who weren’t captured …”). Trump’s clear message is that McCain was not a real hero but a hero with an asterisk.

    Trump is entitled to think that, just as others are entitled to believe Trump is jealous of McCain for a military career Trump did not have the courage for.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/27/2018 @ 10:30 pm

  8. DRJ, when Neil Armstrong died, Pres. Obama ordered flags to half staff for only one day.

    Comment by Andrew Hyman — 8/27/2018 @ 11:35 pm

  9. *laugh*

    What does a failure on President Obama’s part have to do with a failure on President Trump’s part?

    Comment by aphrael — 8/27/2018 @ 11:52 pm

  10. Who says it was a failure on Obama’s part?

    Comment by Andrew Hyman — 8/27/2018 @ 11:56 pm

  11. I did. And I read it as being heavily textually implied from your question, the comment which had preceded it, and the overall context of the issue. It’s so shockingly rare that someone advocating the Trumpist position uses an Obama action as a positive example that it never even occurred to me to read it as doing so.

    Comment by aphrael — 8/28/2018 @ 12:05 am

  12. I don’t recall anyone at the time complaining that the flags weren’t lowered long enough for Armstrong. I didn’t complain. Patterico didn’t complain. The MSM didn’t go into hysterics. I still don’t see that Obama did anything wrong on that score.

    Comment by Andrew Hyman — 8/28/2018 @ 12:16 am

  13. I didn’t notice the story at the time, which may be part of your point. :)

    I misread the signal. I apologize for that.

    That said, I think the two can be distinguished. For me, McCain’s status as a sitting Senator, combined with the treatment other sitting Senators have received in recent years, distinguishes it from Armstrong, in terms of the expected level of government ceremony.

    But of course this could all be a *mistake* rather than a deliberate behavior. But the fact that I *predicted* that Trump would not give McCain the honor I think any other President would give him makes it much harder for me to grant Trump the charitable interpretation.

    Comment by aphrael — 8/28/2018 @ 12:48 am

  14. I agree with aphrael but since you directed your comment 8 at me, I will reply, too. Neil Armstrong was an American test pilot, astronaut, and NASA administrator until his retirement in 1971. He played an important role in America’s space missions. Armstrong died in 2012 and Obama was right to honor him as he did, even though Armstrong was not entitled to recognition by lowering the flags to half-staff (even if “only” for a day). In theory, it was a gracious gesture by Obama because it was not required, but politically it was smart.

    McCain, as a sitting Senator, is entitled to recognition by lowering the flag and Trump gave him that for one day, the bare minimum. In addition, Trump was clearly reluctant to speak well of McCain, deciding instead of offer only condolences to McCain’s family. It was not gracious and Trump eventually had to back down under political pressure. Trump did not handle the situation in a smart way, but it gave him the personal satisfaction of getting even with McCain for slighting Trump.

    Most of us would get upset if someone talked to us or treated us the way McCain treated people and the way Trump treats people. Both McCain and Trump tend to shoot from the lip and don’t care about manners, and it appears both took that treatment personally: McCain barred Trump from his funeral and Trump would not honor McCain in death. Had Trump died first and McCain acted rudely, I would have criticized him … but McCain was “lucky” enough to die first. Trump acted like a boor, so he is the one people are criticizing as ill-mannered.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 6:32 am

  15. IOW, and much shorter since I know most people don’t actually read comments from people they disagree with:

    Armstrong is not a good comparison with McCain, so comparing Obama’s treatment of Armstrong with Trump’s treatment of McCain is not helpful. Armstrong was not entitled to the honor of having a flag flown at half-staff at his passing, and McCain is. All you have shown is that Obama was a more politically astute President than Trump is.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 6:36 am

  16. I thought part of Trump’s appeal to his supporters is that he can be a boor when he thinks it is appropriate. If I were you, I would go with that over at Red State. It should play well there.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 6:38 am

  17. DRJ, I actually do read comments from people I disagree with. I don’t like boorishness, and I don’t support anyone because of boorishness. I voted for Trump not because of any boorishness, but rather because his policies were vastly preferable to Hillary Clinton’s. They still are.

    Neil Armstrong was one of the greatest heroes in all of human history. I’m sorry you don’t think he was “entitled” to more than a small fraction of the honors that John McCain is now “entitled” to. I suppose we will agree to disagree on that point. Cheers.

    Comment by Andrew Hyman — 8/28/2018 @ 7:10 am

  18. Thank you for reading my comment. IMO it’s not a matter of disagreement. There are federal guidelines. Armstrong was not entitled to the honor according to the guidelines; McCain is.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 7:22 am

  19. Here is a link to Eisenhower’s Proclamation.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 7:25 am

  20. DRJ, that’s incorrect. First of all, Trump can change Eisenhower’s guidelines whenever Trump wants. Secondly, the source you linked to proves that Trump did follow Eisenhower’s example before Trump was pressured into doing more. Your link says, “United States senator, representative, territorial delegate, or the resident commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico: On the day of death and the day after.”

    When Trump followed Eisenhiwer’s guideline for McCain, Patterico said Trump was “petty and childish”. Then when Trump caved and did what Patterico wanted, Pat calls him a “cuck” for caving. Now, I don’t intend to accuse Patterico of boorishness, but joining the MSM’s jihad against Trump will probably result in blue wave after blue wave. I like my blue waves in the ocean where they belong! :-)

    Comment by Andrew Hyman — 8/28/2018 @ 8:31 am

  21. I thought you read my comment? I acknowledged Trump did “the bare minimum.” I also called them guidelines, not rules or laws, so you are arguing a strawman. Trump can do, and typically does, whatever he wants. He can also be criticized for it.

    As for your larger point, I get it: BINARY CHOICE. Been there, done that.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 9:20 am

  22. When our choice is Kanye West vs Bernie Sanders, some will still be arguing BINARY CHOICE.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 9:22 am

  23. DRJ, you said, “Armstrong was not entitled to the honor according to the guidelines; McCain is.” Actually, Armstrong was no less entitled than McCain to the honor that Trump ultimately gave to McCain.

    You all can of course blog however you want. If you want to criticize Trump for not doing stuff that Obama’s didn’t do either, fine. And then when Trump caves to your demands you can blast Trump for doing that too. It’s all good. I just think you can make better use of your bits and bytes.

    Comment by Andrew Hyman — 8/28/2018 @ 9:41 am

  24. Perhaps we are not on the same page. I think Obama and Trump and all Presidents have the authority to honor decedents by lowering the flag to half-staff. I also do not think the Eisenhower Proclamation is binding on other Presidents, but most have followed it for the past 60 years so it is custom.

    Under the terms of the Eisenhower Proclamation, sitting Senators are entitled to have the flag lowered for two days at their death. Noble citizens like Neil Armstrong can also be honored but it is in the President’s discretion.

    Do you see the difference?

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 1:18 pm

  25. You can blog as you wish, too, but I don’t think this analogy accomplishes what you hoped for.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 1:19 pm

  26. there was talk for a while of a binary choice for michigan senator: robert ritchie vs. marshall mathers.

    thankfully the rumors were false and neither ran.

    Comment by aphrael — 8/28/2018 @ 3:17 pm

  27. Eminem vs Kid Rock? My, my.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/28/2018 @ 5:13 pm

  28. culturally i’m in the eminem camp — i actually saw him perform earlier this year — but politically i’d like neither of them in office.

    Comment by aphrael — 8/28/2018 @ 6:45 pm

  29. Whoever the two nominees are, I’d pick one to vote for. If you don’t pick the lesser evil, you’re more likely to get the greater evil. The way to get better nominees is to get involved with the primaries. Or advocate for a different kind of voting procedure. IMO.

    Comment by Andrew Hyman — 8/28/2018 @ 8:28 pm

  30. Picking between two evils means evil wins every time.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/29/2018 @ 8:34 pm

  31. I love Bush’s eulogy. It reminds me why I liked him as a leader and a person.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/1/2018 @ 10:49 am

  32. Here is Obama’s eulogy. It is entertaining and generous by Obama’s standards, although as usual Obama has to play a role in every important scene.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/1/2018 @ 10:56 am

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