What a tiny man. Trump deliberately leaves John McCain's name off of the bill at signing, just calls it "The National Defense Authorization Act" pic.twitter.com/L7AMXQfQKY— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) August 13, 2018
President Donald Trump signed into law a military funding bill that is named after Sen. John McCain. But in his remarks discussing the bill, Trump never once mentioned McCain’s name.
H.R. 515, the "John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019," authorizes spending for the military over the next year. The president signed the bill at Fort Drum Army Base in New York. It provides $717 billion for military funding, which Trump described as historic.
Yet as Toronto Star’s Washington Correspondent Daniel Dale pointed out, that assessment is incorrect — even disregarding the valuation of U.S. currency changing from year-to-year, former President Barack Obama signed into law a much larger spending package seven years ago.
Trump falsely says the $716 billion NDAA is "historic." It's not even if you ignore inflation; Obama's 2011 version was $725 billion. This is the 12th time he's falsely claimed or suggested he's setting defense spending records.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 13, 2018
Notably in his remarks, Trump never mentioned McCain by name, even though the bill is named in his honor. That’s likely to do with the rocky relationship the senator and the president have with one another — Trump has, in fact, disrespectfully mocked McCain during campaign rallies, even as the senator is dying from an aggressive form of brain cancer.
So it’s not too surprising to see Trump avoid mentioning McCain in his signing ceremony, nor to give recognition to the senator for his years of service, both in the Senate and in the military.
But unsurprising or not, Trump’s snubbing of McCain is still distasteful. Despite their differences, a better person would have at least acknowledged the bill’s title, giving due recognition to the senator where it was intended to be.
Trump is not a “better person,” however, and it doesn’t seem very likely he ever will be. He will continue to be a president that holds grudges against others who don’t bend to his whims and demands.
History will look back kindly at McCain, an imperfect lawmaker who nevertheless demonstrated an independent streak from time-to-time, showing the courage to cast his vote the right way when it wasn’t always a politically easy choice to make. As it stands now, unless Trump makes a major change in his personality, the history books won’t be as kind to him.