A reporter, apparently from Fox News – MSNBC wants to make a big deal of this – asked Sen. John McCain whether his relationship with the president had deteriorated to the point that he would block anything that comes down from the White House.
McCain was furious. “Why would you say something that stupid? Why would you ask something that dumb?”
Well, a couple of things on this.
First of all, the basic question is not dumb, but it was worded in a dumb way. I have little doubt that McCain’s personal pique at the president, probably stemming from Trump ridiculing his capture by the Vietnamese, is what caused the senator to sink the Obamacare “repeal” bill. His explanation that he did it because proper Senate procedures were not followed doesn’t hold water. So while McCain certainly isn’t going to block everything Trump proposes, if it comes from Trump, it will affect how he considers it. And that’s probably why McCain got so angry, because he knows there is truth in the question.
Another thing to note is that this is a McCain that used to be better known around Capitol Hill. He was viewed years ago as a hothead, but over the years, seemed to get it pretty well under control. That this outburst is happening now is somewhat suspicious. I know it’s not polite to say this, but at some point, the brain tumor that is going to kill him will start affecting his judgment and his behavior.
I feel horrible about it because I got to know McCain covering him years ago and got to like him immensely on a personal level, even if I sometimes disagree with what he does politically. But it will be important for him to make a determination about when he has reached the point at which he can’t perform his duties, because with the margin so close in the Senate, he wields enormous power, as we have seen.