Twit­ter tantrum: Trump an­gry at McCain again

Pres­i­dent takes is­sue with se­na­tor’s com­ments on deadly Ye­men raid, call­ing it a ‘win­ning mis­sion’

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ANDREW TAYLOR

WASHINGTON — United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day lashed out at Repub­li­can Sen. John McCain, ac­cus­ing the vet­eran of em­bold­en­ing the en­emy for dis­put­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­sis­tence that the deadly U.S. mil­i­tary mis­sion in Ye­men was a suc­cess.

Trump took to Twit­ter to as­sail the chair of the Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee af­ter the Ari­zona law­maker ini­tially called last month’s raid a “fail­ure.” McCain soft­ened his stand in a state­ment Tues­day in which he said that while many ob­jec­tives of the raid were met, “I would not de­scribe any op­er­a­tion that re­sults in the loss of Amer­i­can life as a suc­cess.”

“Sen. McCain should not be talk­ing about the suc­cess or fail­ure of a mis­sion to the me­dia,” Trump said over sev­eral tweets. “Only em­bold­ens the en­emy! He’s been los­ing so ... long he doesn’t know how to win any­more.”

The raid was sup­posed to be an in­tel­li­gence gathering mis­sion but turned into a lengthy bat­tle with al-Qaida fight­ers in which a Navy SEAL, Ryan Owens, was killed, a $75-mil­lion air­craft was lost and there were mul­ti­ple ca­su­al­ties, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren.

“Our hero ... Ryan died on a win­ning mis­sion (ac­cord­ing to Gen­eral Mat­tis), not a ‘fail­ure.’ Time for the U.S. to get smart and start win­ning again!” Trump tweeted. Re­tired Gen. Jim Mat­tis is Trump’s sec­re­tary of de­fence.

White House spokesper­son Sean Spicer has called the raid “ab­so­lutely a suc­cess.”

McCain, who spent 5 ½ years as a pris­oner of war in Viet­nam, has not been shy about crit­i­ciz­ing Trump, es­pe­cially over his ac­com­mo­dat­ing at­ti­tude to­ward Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and his con­tro­ver­sial or­der sus­pend­ing all im­mi­gra­tion for cit­i­zens of seven ma­jor­ity-Mus­lim coun­tries, in­clud­ing Ye­men, for 90 days.

But on Thurs­day, McCain was not ea­ger to re­spond to Trump’s lat­est mis­sives.

“I have my re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on the Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee and we just had a hear­ing where the gen­eral in charge of Afghanistan says we’re not win­ning. We’re in a stale­mate. That’s where I’m fo­cus­ing my ef­forts,” he said. “I just have to do my job.”

But his daugh­ter, Meghan McCain, showed no re­luc­tance to an­swer the pres­i­dent.

“Trump has never served. My fa­ther can’t bend one of his knees or lift one of his arms above his head. I am done with this to­day. DONE,” she tweeted.

McCain, 80, cruised to a sixth Se­nate term in Novem­ber, de­feat­ing a Demo­cratic chal­lenger who hounded the se­na­tor for stand­ing by Trump even af­ter the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man in­sulted him as a “loser” and ap­peared to ques­tion whether he is a war hero.

Trump, who re­ceived draft de­fer­ments dur­ing the Viet­nam era, also said there was noth­ing heroic about McCain’s mil­i­tary record af­ter he was shot down dur­ing the war.

McCain dropped his sup­port for Trump in Oc­to­ber af­ter a 2005 record­ing sur­faced in which Trump boasted about grop­ing women.

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