Republican leaders have condemned Donald Trump for his comments caught on a tape released to the media on Friday, but they are still standing by the GOP nominee. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell Reject Donald Trump’s Words, Over and Over, but Not His Candidacy:
The two top Republicans in Congress — Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and Speaker Paul D. Ryan — have repeatedly condemned statements by Donald J. Trump, but they have not joined the dozens of leaders in their party who have said they will not vote for him.
On Thursday, another 30 former GOP leaders, including former Tucson Rep. Jim Kolbe, signed a letter saying they cannot vote for Donald Trump because he “makes a mockery” of their principles. 30 Former GOP lawmakers sign anti-Trump letter.
But what about Senator John McCain, who has endorsed Donald Trump and consistently reaffirmed his endorsement after each and every outrageous statement made by Donald Trump over the course of this campaign?
John McCain released a statement yesterday hours after the Trump tape became news:
“There are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments. No woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.”
Once again, McCain wants to have it both ways: condemn Trump’s comments to get praise from his McMedia base, but not disavow his endorsement of Trump or repudiate him as the GOP nominee, because he needs Trump’s deplorable base of voters for reelection.
Will Trump suffer the consequences for his crude comments about women? Maybe not. John McCain never suffered the consequences for his own crude comments about women.
McCain had his own Trump tape moment during the 2008 presidential campaign — he was crushed by Barack Obama for other reasons — but survived to win reelction to the Senate in 2010. Apparently everyone in the media has forgotten about this story that has disappeared down the memory hole. Book: McCain temper boiled over in ’92 tirade, called wife a ‘cunt’ (April 7, 2008):
John McCain’s temper is well documented. He’s called opponents and colleagues “shitheads,” “assholes” and in at least one case “a fucking jerk.”
But a new book on the presumptive Republican nominee will air perhaps the most shocking angry exchange to date.
The Real McCain by Cliff Schecter, which will arrive in bookstores next month, reports an angry exchange between McCain and his wife that happened in full view of aides and reporters during a 1992 campaign stop. An advance copy of the book was obtained by RAW STORY.
Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain’s intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain’s hair and said, “You’re getting a little thin up there.” McCain’s face reddened, and he responded, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.” McCain’s excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.
The man who was known as “McNasty” in high school has erupted in foul-languaged tirades at political foes and congressional colleagues more-or-less throughout his career, and his quickness to anger has been an issue on the presidential campaign trail as evidence of his fury has surfaced.
As Schecter notes, McCain’s rage is not limited to the political spectrum, and even his family cannot be spared the brute force of his anger.
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The exchange between McCain and his wife was not reported anywhere when it happened, Schecter said (a LexisNexis database search confirms this). In 1992, McCain’s mention in the national media revolved mostly around his involvement in the Keating Five scandal, and only local reporters closely followed his re-election bid.
McCain is well known for his rapport with the national media covering his presidential bid (he’s jokingly referred to the press as “my base”), but Schecter said this incident was buried not out of fealty to the Arizona senator. Rather, it was uneasiness about how to get such a coarse exchange into a family newspaper, and he didn’t fault the local press for not covering the incident.
“Members of the media are squeamish covering stuff like this so they let it go,” Schecter told RAW STORY in an interview Monday. “Back in ’92, when people use naughty words, [reporters] don’t know as much what to do with it.”
Much has changed since then…
The McCain campaign furiously denied the 2008 reports, calling them “fabrications” and “trash.” McCain Campaign Cries Foul Over New Book’s Temper Allegations. This was good enough for McCain’s fawning McMedia base, and the story quickly disappeared.
McCain also survived his very Trump-like joke about Chelsea Clinton. The joke that should have sunk McCain (September 1, 2008):
John McCain at a fundraising dinner in Arizona a decade ago: “Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly?” he told a handful of big Republican funders. “Because Janet Reno is her father.”
The remark packed into its 15 words several layers of misogyny. It disparaged the looks of Chelsea, then 18 and barely out of high school; it portrayed Reno as a man at a time when she was serving as the first female US attorney general; and it implied that Hillary Clinton was engaged in a lesbian affair while the Monica Lewinsky scandal was blazing. Not bad going, Senator McCain.
Any one of those elements would seem potentially terminal for a public figure. Yet here he is 10 years later presenting himself as a champion of feminism by appointing Sarah Palin as his running mate.
The puzzle is explained partly by the US press, which barely reported the story. The Washington Post broke it in June 1998 but declined to relate the joke on the grounds it was “too vile to repeat.” Such coyness has long been ingrained in the US media, which has an annoying tendency to regard its readers as wayward children in need of moral protection.
Until yesterday. We are now living in the Trump era of news reporting. So John McCain’s previous indiscretions from years ago are now fair game to be reexamined in this reelection campaign. His McMedia base should stop protecting him and covering up what he says off the record in “locker room banter.”
John McCain lacks the temperament, character and judgment (he gave us Sarah Palin and endorsed Donald Trump) to serve in the high office of U.S. Senator.
John McCain was Donald Trump before Donald Trump. It would be poetic justice if both men went down to defeat together.