Donald Trump now calls John McCain a "hero" — because he's doing what Trump wants

The senator was diagnosed with brain cancer but is returning to Washington for the health care vote

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 25, 2017 8:57AM (EDT)

 (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/Lucas Jackson/Photo montage by Salon)
(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/Lucas Jackson/Photo montage by Salon)

President Donald Trump needs Sen. John McCain of Arizona to appear in Washington so he can vote on the upcoming health care reform bill.

McCain, it is now being reported, will be happy to oblige both him and the Senate Republican leadership in their political needs.

"Sen. McCain looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue working on important legislation, including health care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea," according to a press release from McCain's office.

McCain's office echoed these sentiments in a tweet on Monday night.

It is worth noting that McCain also mentioned voting for Russia sanctions, to the point where he included it in a hashtag. Although he has pulled water for the Trump administration on a number of issues, he has been a vocal advocate of stronger sanctions against Russia due to their alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election — a position that, at the very least, makes the Trump White House uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, there is a rich irony to McCain's decision to come to the service of Trump's agenda. On the one hand, President Trump praised McCain's choice in a Tuesday morning tweet.

Back in 2015, however, Trump had a much less favorable view of McCain (who had recently criticized his presidential campaign), and as a result took a shot at the senator's war heroism.

"He’s not a war hero," Trump told an audience during a Republican presidential forum. "He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."

In response, Texas Governor Rick Perry took the stage to tell the audience that "Donald Trump owes every American veteran and in particular John McCain an apology."

An adequate apology, of course, never came.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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