President Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of the late Sen. John McCain on Tuesday, telling reporters that he “was never a fan" of the Arizona lawmaker “and never will be.”
Trump, during an appearance at the White House alongside Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, continued his posthumous broadside against his former foe, saying that he still found it “disgraceful” that McCain voted against repealing key parts of Obamacare in 2017.
Trump said he was “very unhappy that he didn’t repeal and replace Obamacare, as you know.”
“They got to a vote, and he said thumbs down,” Trump said. “I think that’s disgraceful."
“There are other things," he added. "I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be.”
McCain died last August after a battle with brain cancer.
One of his closest allies, Mark Salter, hit back at Trump on Twitter later Tuesday.
"Ok you aren't a fan. One more in a long list of things you are not. Honest. Brave. Smart. Tough. Disciplined. Kind. Generous. Patriotic. A fan of John McCain," wrote Salter, who served as a speechwriter for, and co-author of many books by, McCain.
"Had you been a fan, the Senator would have wondered what he had done so wrong that he earned the approval of a man he despised," Salter added.
In 2017, in an act of defiance against Trump, McCain returned to the Capitol less than a week after his cancer was diagnosed to cast his vote on the Republican effort to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act — the biggest legislative achievement of President Barack Obama, who defeated McCain in the 2008 election.
McCain first voted in favor of debating the bill, but later cast the decisive vote against repeal, enraging Trump.
Trump had feuded frequently with McCain earlier, however, and insulted him during the 2016 campaign by saying that “he’s not a war hero.”
"He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured,” Trump said of the storied Vietnam veteran.
Trump had lashed out at McCain last weekend, accusing him of sending a Trump opposition-research dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele into the hands of multiple media outlets in late 2016.
The president was responding to reports in conservative media outlets that cited court documents saying a former aide to the Republican senator was the source of a leak that put a Trump opposition-research dossier into the hands of multiple media outlets in late 2016.
McCain gave a version of the dossier to the FBI in December 2016, after the presidential election, and asked if any of it was true, but he had denied being a source of the document for BuzzFeed, which published it in January 2017.