As the nation prepares for Sen. John McCain’s final send-off, President Donald Trump is scheduled to headline a campaign rally, according to a New York Times report published Wednesday.
White House aides reportedly considered the optics of holding a Trump rally while the nation mourns the longtime senator and Vietnam War veteran, but ultimately decided that it was not possible to make changes to Trump’s schedule.
These aides reportedly concluded, according to The Times’ sources, that Trump could weather any negative fallout from such a move.
On Friday, McCain will be taken to the Capitol Rotunda for a televised memorial service where Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul Ryan are expected to attend.
Another memorial service will be held at Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, where former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will deliver eulogies, a personal request McCain asked of Obama and Bush months ago.
McCain’s final destination will be his alma mater, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he will be buried alongside Chuck Larson, a former Naval Academy classmate and lifelong friend.
But as McCain meticulously planned his funeral processions in detail and invited many notable politicians prior to his death, he intentionally boxed Trump out, an unprecedented move against a sitting president. During the weekend, Trump will instead be at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.
The two political giants feuded for years over public policy and other matters. In 1999, Trump downplayed McCain’s military service and suggested he was only considered an American hero because he was captured and held prisoner in Hanoi for five years during the Vietnam War. Trump echoed the same remarks during his 2016 presidential campaign.
McCain in turn criticized Trump’s policies, including matters of national security, healthcare, and immigration. He also rebuked what he called the “half-baked nationalism” that Trump popularized during his run for the White House.