McCain decries 'disgraceful' draft dodging, chastises Trump for continuing widow feud
- Sen. John McCain weighed in on President Donald Trump's controversy surrounding a condolence call he made to the widow of US Army Sgt. La David Johnson.
- Appearing alongside his daughter on "The View", McCain also demanded more information on the ambush that left Johnson and three others dead.
- McCain expanded on his previous comments about whether Trump was a draft dodger, criticizing the system that has "our lowest income people to do our fighting and dying."
Sen. John McCain of Arizona weighed in on President Donald Trump's ongoing feud with Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida about a condolence call the commander in chief made to a grieving widow last Tuesday.
"We should not be fighting about a brave American who lost his life serving his country. That should not be the topic of discussion in America today," he said on ABC's "The View" alongside his daughter Meghan McCain on Monday.
After Trump called Myeshia Johnson to express his condolences for the death of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, Wilson said Trump didn't say the soldier's name and told his widow that "He knew what he signed up for." Wilson was in the limo with Johnson when Trump called, and heard the call on speakerphone.
Trump hit back at Wilson over the next several days, saying she lied and calling her "wacky." White House chief of staff John Kelly also waded into the debate on Thursday, calling Wilson an "empty barrel" whose "selfish behavior" in sharing the call stunned him.
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On Monday morning, Johnson confirmed Wilson's account on "Good Morning America." The Gold Star widow said Trump did not remember her husband's name and told her that her husband "he knew what he signed up for."
After her interview aired, Trump tweeted that she was wrong, saying he did use her husband's name "from the beginning", and that they had "a very respectful conversation."
Demanding answers on the Niger ambush
Johnson said the Army wasn't sharing key details about her husband's death, and that she was seeking answers.
McCain, the six-term Republican from Arizona who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, is also pushing for more information about the Niger ambush, which left three other US soldiers dead in addition to Sgt. Johnson.
"Americans should know what's going on in Niger, should know what caused the deaths of four brave, young Americans, should know what kind of operations we're engaged in," McCain said on Monday. "One of the fights I'm having right now with the administration is the armed services committee is not getting enough information."
Last week, McCain accused the White House of not being upfront about the Niger ambush, and told the Daily Beast that he hadn't "heard anything about it, to tell you the truth, except that they were killed."
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are joining McCain's call for more information, and both said on Sunday that they weren't aware the US had 1,000 troops in Africa.
'I fight back'
McCain has recently ramped up his criticisms of Trump. Last week, he warned that the US is turning toward "half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems."
"I hear everything," Trump told WMAL radio when asked about McCain's comments last week. "People have to be careful because at some point I fight back."
When "The View" hosts asked if McCain was "scared" of Trump fighting back, the veteran and his daughter laughed.
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McCain also seemed to call the president out on Sunday for his medical deferment for bone spurs from the Vietnam War. On Monday, however, he clarified those comments, saying he doesn't consider Trump a draft dodger, and placed more blame on the "disgraceful" system during the Vietnam War that had "the lowest income portion of our public to do our fighting and dying."
"What's your relationship like with the president?" Sara Haines, one of hosts of "The View" asked the senator, wondering if he talked to him on the phone often.
"Almost none," he said.
More from Business Insider:
- There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding an ambush in Niger that left 4 US soldiers dead
- Trump 'constantly looks for other scapegoats': Leon Panetta criticizes the president's response to US deaths in Niger
- Trump addresses killing of 4 US soldiers for first time, falsely claims Obama never called Gold Star families