President Donald Trump was unwelcome at the funeral services for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), but that didn’t stop a former top McCain advisor from lashing out at the commander-in-chief’s “cult of personality.”
Steve Schmidt, who served as a senior strategist for McCain’s 2008 White House bid, slammed Trump, his daughter and son-in-law during MSNBC coverage with Chris Matthews and historian Jon Meacham.
“I think that we will look back for a long time today — and we should — but John McCain would also want us to look forward,” Meacham explained. “I think this is a very dramatic, very carefully orchestrated message to the country, not that these days are gone forever, but that this is what we must do, this is who we must be if we’re going to survive our present crises.”
“One of the things about Sen. McCain and Bob Dole and President Bush, is these were men who looked forward, they knew that losing an election was not the worst day they would ever had, because they got shot down out of the sky or lost an arm on a hill in Italy or were captured in Hanoi,” he reminded.
“They had a sense of perspective and proportion and I think they would want us to share that and realize that winning a news cycle, winning a Twitter battle, is not what public service is ultimately about,” Meacham noted.
Matthews asked Schmidt about those in the audience who are “bowing to the president” and “doing what they’re told” by the White House.
“We see in public life today, Chris, a season of cowardice where so many people have become infidelitious to the ideals and the ideals of the nation where, in my view, they have foresworn their oaths, that they have become obedient in a cult of personalty to a vile and objectionable leader who tramples on every sense of decency and every good virtue in the country,” Schmidt replied.
“All around the world — from Poland and Hungary and Austria — we see a regression of democracy, we see a rise of authoritarians, we see a President of the United States who has a fetish for autocratic leaders all around the world, who is hostile to the ideas and ideals of American democracy, of the republic, that John McCain committed his entire life to.”
As Schmidt was speaking, the camera showed senior White House advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner greet Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC).
“It’s great to watch Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner hug Lindsey Graham, but the reality is that Jared and Ivanka are on the side of a movement that stands for everything that John McCain was against and opposed and fought against for his entire life,” Schmidt reminded.
“Trumpism is antithetical to everything that John McCain believed in,” he added.