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John McCain died

John McCain died          News in English

John McCain’s complicated relationship with President Trump originally appeared on

President Donald Trump's acrimonious relationship with Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has been one of the defining features of his presidency so far.

In remarks that started percolating on the campaign trail and have persisted in the years since, Trump has criticized the former presidential nominee, focusing on his military service and the time he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Once he took office, the president targeted issues McCain voted on that opposed his policies –- and continued blasting McCain even after his brain cancer diagnosis.

Trump’s fixation on the former presidential nominee seemed to begin well before he came to Washington. Back in 1999, Trump insulted McCain’s military service, a foreshadowing of his message on the campaign trail.

“He was captured. Does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure,” Trump said in an interview with Dan Rather that year.

More than 15 years later, Trump reprised that broadside shortly after announcing his presidential bid.

“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump repeated in 2015.

In 1967, after McCain’s bomber was hit, the then-Navy pilot ejected himself and was captured by North Vietnamese combatants. McCain was imprisoned for five years, underwent torture and refused to be released early unless every man captured before him was also set free.

The effects of the injuries from his ejection, torture and inadequate medical treatment left him permanently incapable of raising either arm above his shoulders.

Besides McCain’s military service, the other major line of attack, which Trump kept as part of his stump speech after the senator announced he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, was on his vote against the Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

McCain flew back from Arizona, where he was already receiving treatment, in July 2017, and delivered a body blow to the bill by brandishing a dramatic thumbs down -- the third and last Republican needed to sink the legislation -- during the vote on the so-called “skinny repeal” bill.

It seemed to blindside the president, who he earlier had tweeted with the apparent assumption that McCain was returning to Washington to help pass the bill.

Since then, Trump has made McCain’s no-vote a signature attack line in nearly every campaign speech, though never referring to McCain by name. His most recent use of this attack was in West Virginia, just three days before the McCain family announced he was stopping treatment, and only four days before the Arizona Republican died.

“I will tell you [Obamacare] is being chipped away. We had it beaten, but one man, I'm sure nobody knows who I'm talking about, voted no, shockingly. To -- really surprising to a lot of people because he campaigned on repeal and replace -- but we've really knocked it out, including the individual mandate,” Trump said.

These types of remarks were frequently met with boos and jeers from the audience.

And the negativity directed at McCain seemed to trickle down through the rest of his White House. In May, a White House official, Kelly Sadler, remarked in a closed-door meeting that McCain’s opinion of CIA director nominee Gina Haspel didn’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.”

(MORE: White House aide mocked 'dying' McCain, sources say )

Those comments earned sharp rebukes from McCain’s family, including his wife Cindy on Twitter.

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