Trump issues implicit threat to McCain in escalating feud over the GOP senator's pointed speech

President Donald Trump responded Tuesday to Republican Sen. John McCain's pointed Monday night speech, suggesting that the senator should "be careful" because Trump will "fight back."

"I hear everything," Trump told WMAL radio when asked if he heard what McCain said in his speech Monday. "People have to be careful because at some point I fight back."

In his Philadelphia speech, where McCain was to accept the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal in recognition of his service to the US, McCain blasted "half-baked, spurious nationalism."

"To refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain the last, best hope of Earth for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history," McCain said.

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John McCain receives 2017 Liberty Medal
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John McCain receives 2017 Liberty Medal
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) laughs after being awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (unseen) at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 16, 2017. At right is President of the National Constitution Center Jeffrey Rosen. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks after being awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (unseen) at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) gives a thumbs up to the crowd before being awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 16, 2017. At right is President of the National Constitution Center Jeffrey Rosen. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 16, 2017. Standing between them is President of the National Constitution Center Jeffrey Rosen. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) shakes hands with supporters before being awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 16: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) receives the the 2017 Liberty Medal from former Vice President Joe Biden at the National Constitution Center on October 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 16: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) poses for photos with a group of Naval cadets after receiving the 2017 Liberty Medal from former Vice President Joe Biden (not shown) at the National Constitution Center on October 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 16: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) makes remarks after receiving the the 2017 Liberty Medal from former Vice President Joe Biden (not shown) at the National Constitution Center on October 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 16: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) receives the the 2017 Liberty Medal from former Vice President Joe Biden at the National Constitution Center on October 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 16: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) greets a group of Naval cadets after receiving the 2017 Liberty Medal from former Vice President Joe Biden (not shown) at the National Constitution Center on October 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
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He added that "we live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil," referencing a Nazi slogan that white nationalists chanted during a Charlottesville, Virginia, rally in August.

"We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don't," McCain continued.

McCain responded to Trump's comments on Tuesday, denying that he was attacking the president specifically but also saying that he's "faced some pretty tough adversaries in the past."

"I'm not interested in confronting the president," he said. "I'm interested in working with the president."

McCain said that he was referring to "America Firsters" in his Monday speech. "America First" is a slogan Trump has often used to describe his foreign policy agenda.

McCain and Trump have often been at odds during Trump's presidency. The senator was the decisive vote that crushed the Republican healthcare effort this summer, and he has often been publicly critical of Trump. In turn, Trump has chastised McCain.

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John McCain and family through the years
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John McCain and family through the years
Ok one more. @senjohnmccain with me at our first Christmas as a married couple.
@senjohnmccain @zelda.frenchie.1 and our two boys Jack and Jimmy enjoying the morning at the Navy Memorial.
@DBacks game with @meghanmccain and. @senjohnmccain
So many years ago. @meghanmccain @senjohnmccain at her Columbia University graduation.
One of my favorite family photos. An oldie but a goody! @senjohnmccain @meghanmccain
Thank all of you for the wonderful thoughts. @senjohnmccain is doing well. We as a family will face the next hurdle together. One thing I do know is he is the toughest person I know. He is my hero and I love him with all my heart.
The highlight of my day. ❤️🍴🇺🇸
My rock @cindymccain ❤️❤️❤️
Happy early birthday Dad - I love you with all my heart. ❤️🇺🇸🌵🎂🍰
After dinner talks with Dad 🌵❤️🇺🇸
Hiking the eclipse with Dad 🌵🌙
To everyone who has sent me and my family such kind words of strength and prayers, thank you from the bottom of my heart, it really has been helping me. We start my fathers last (first round) of radiation and chemotherapy today. This last month has easily been the most challenging and difficult of my life. I come from a long lineage of warriors and I have never been more grateful for the strength and fortitude that has been passed down to me, I am relying on it now more than ever. My natural inclination is always to be open and share my life but at the moment I am still in a place where I just want and need to be around my family and am asking for your understanding and patience. To those of you out there living with #GBM or who have a family member or loved one living with #GBM, you are my absolute heroes. We are in this fight together, sending you all love and light. #FUCKCANCER
Happy Fathers Day to my father @senjohnmccain. This picture is how I always think of you, relaxed, in Arizona, grilling us ribs and listening to Frank Sinatra. Thank you for teaching me how to love life and seize every moment. Thank you for exposing me to the world (it's good and bad) and teaching me about character, conviction and having true grit. Finally thank you for always giving me something to believe in, in a world where it has become increasingly harder to find. I love you with all my heart. 🇺🇸❤️
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Elsewhere on Tuesday, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who lost to McCain in the 2008 Republican presidential primary, took to Twitter to call the Arizona Republican's speech "Lincolnesque."

"Ran against him, sometimes disagree, but proud to be a friend of @SenJohnMcCain: hero, champion of character and last night, Lincolnesque," he tweeted.

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