We ordinarily would take anything out of a 2020 Democratic candidate’s mouth with an enormous grain of salt, even moreso when her comments are reported by the notoriously untrustworthy HuffPost. But somehow, we don’t have the slightest problem believing Sen. Amy Klobuchar when she recounts how she and the late Sen. John McCain passed the time during President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony. Sitting there, reciting the names of dictators while the new president spoke – that sounds like exactly the kind of snide, bitter thing that the Arizona senator would do with his Democrat pals.
Klobuchar, speaking to a crowd of more than 200 at Jasper’s Winery, said she sat next to McCain, one of Trump’s most outspoken Republican critics, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the inaugural address, which became known for its blunt expression of Trump’s authoritarian populism and invocations of “American carnage.”
“I sat on that stage between Bernie and John McCain, and John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation,” Klobuchar said. “He understood it. He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did.”
He didn’t know Donald Trump from a hole in the ground. And while we hesitate to speak ill of the dead, it’s clear that McCain’s entire problem with Trump is that he did what the Arizona senator could never do: Win the presidency. Oh, and some bitterness left over for having had his “war hero” status questioned.
After his little stunt at the inauguration, McCain went on to spend the rest of his life being a thorn in the president’s side. Rather than let bygones be bygones, McCain – in his last act of relevance – sunk the Republican Party’s chances of overturning Obamacare, a law that he’d spent eight long years swearing to repeal. This was how he paid back the good-faith voters of Arizona. This was how demented his hatred of Trump had become.
To this day, of course, Trump’s critics are still out there accusing him of being a would-be dictator. Just this past week, Joe Scarborough said that Trump’s decision to give Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify intelligence related to the Russia probe was that of an “autocrat.” Because we all know that if there’s one reliable trait of a dictator, it’s a commitment to government transparency.
But such is the logic of those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome – an infection McCain had long before his more serious health problems emerged.