As Trump attacks McCain, most in GOP remain silent

Apart from a few GOP voices in the U.S. House and Senate, most Republican lawmakers in Congress had little to say in recent days about President Donald Trump's continuing attacks on the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), as the President used a speech in Ohio on Wednesday to launch an extended series of jabs as the former POW.

"I have to be honest - I've never liked him much," Mr. Trump said at a speech at a tank production plant in Lima, Ohio.

With Congress on break this week, many Republicans stayed away from the tide of remarks by the President, as only a handful of GOP officials stood up to tell Mr. Trump to back off, and leave the dead U.S. Senator alone.

"It’s deplorable what he said,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) said of President Trump in a Wednesday radio interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting. 

“That’s what I called it from the floor of the Senate seven months ago. It will be deplorable seven months from now if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out," said Isakson, who has been one of McCain's few public defenders in the GOP to push back directly at Mr. Trump.

"John McCain is an American hero and I am thankful for his life of service and legacy to our country and Arizona," said Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who now holds his seat in Congress - though McSally did not directly mention the President in her statement.

But Rep. Peter King R-NY, and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) were outliers, as some supporters said the President was needlessly picking a fight - with a dead man - which he will never win.

"President 0. Dead Man 1," wrote conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson.

"Let's be a little less coo-coo," said Anthony Scaramucci on CNN Thursday morning, who served in the White House for a very short period of time in 2017, but remains a strong supporter of the President.

Here's the President's full remarks about McCain from the Wednesday event:

In a late night email sent to reporters on Wednesday, the McCain Institute pushed back - without mentioning the President by name - as the group defended the late GOP Senator, and one time Republican nominee for President in 2008.

"John McCain was held for 5 years in a Vietnamese prison and brutally tortured," the group wrote, offering a laundry list of supportive items from his resume in the military and in Congress.

"John McCain always called on America to stand up for its values of freedom and democracy," the group added, as even in death, McCain was still embroiled in battles with President Trump.

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