WASHINGTON ― Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will not talk about Donald Trump and he wants reporters to inform their colleagues
He will not do it if he’s asked about one of Trump’s many tweets. He will not do it if he’s asked about what Trump’s priorities should be on North Korea. He just will not do it, he insisted.
Surrounded by reporters on the Senate’s first full day back from Thanksgiving break, McCain shut down every single question that included the name “Donald Trump.” He only answered questions ― very briefly ― related to Trump when reporters began excluding the president-elect’s name.
“I will not talk about Donald Trump. Now look, tell all your friends, OK?” McCain said to reporters Tuesday in the Capitol. “Ads were run against me because, time after time, I was asked in the elevator or down below or someplace, ‘Are you still supporting Donald Trump?’ Those ads were run against me because I kept being asked and asked and asked. I repeat again: Do not ask me about Donald Trump. I do not want to be rude to anyone, but I do not want to be asked about Donald Trump.”
McCain, long considered a maverick, never gave Trump a strong endorsement and avoided questions about him in the months leading up to Election Day. He nevertheless managed to hold onto his Senate seat.
When The Huffington Post noted that Trump is now the Republican Party’s president-elect ― the party McCain has belonged to his entire 30 years in the upper chamber ― the senator erupted.
“I have the right to answer anything that I want to answer and that I don’t want to answer, too. I will not discuss President-elect Trump, OK?” McCain said, staring down this reporter. “And that is my right as a senator. I do not have an obligation, ma’am, to say, to answer any question I don’t feel like answering, OK? I am responsible to the people of Arizona and they just re-elected me overwhelmingly. And I will not speak about Donald Trump. And I don’t want to be asked again.”
HuffPost took another crack at asking McCain what he thought about Trump’s claims, but didn’t mention the president-elect by name, instead asking what he thought about “comments” being made that there was election fraud.
“I don’t pay any attention to it,” McCain said. “I think the election has been decided, and I don’t even think about it.”
McCain was eager to talk about one of Trump’s possible picks to lead the State Department, retired General David Petraeus. Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis was careful to not mention Trump’s name when he posed the question to McCain moments after the senator’s tirade.
“I believe that someone who’s been convicted of a misdemeanor and pays a penalty that then we all move forward in life,” McCain said when asked about Petraeus’ history of mishandling classified information. “I am a strong supporter of General Petraeus.”
But say the name Donald Trump, and McCain won’t answer.