Trump Blasts John McCain for Emboldening America’s Enemies

Arizona Republican had criticized raid in Yemen

Sen. John McCain faced criticism from President Donald Trump on Thursday morning. (Daniel A. Anderson/CQ Roll Call file photo.)
Sen. John McCain faced criticism from President Donald Trump on Thursday morning. (Daniel A. Anderson/CQ Roll Call file photo.)
Posted February 9, 2017 at 9:18am

President Donald Trump accused Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain of helping America’s enemies by criticizing an ill-fated U.S. military raid in Yemen.

The Arizona Republican, “should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media,” Trump said in an early morning tweet. “Only emboldens the enemy!”

A spokeswoman for McCain said he was focusing on his duties as Armed Services chairman, which held a hearing Thursday morning on the situation in Afghanistan.

“Sen. McCain will continue to execute his oversight duties as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and support the brave men and women serving our nation in uniform,“ the spokeswoman said.

The Armed Services Committee was briefed about what happened with the raid in Yemen on Wednesday in a closed setting.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, was ridiculed by Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign for having been captured by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. By most any standard, McCain demonstrated considerable heroism during his time as a prisoner or war by declining to leave early when given the option due to his father’s rank of admiral.

“Many years ago when I was imprisoned in North Vietnam, there was an attempt to rescue the POWs. Unfortunately, the brave men had been evacuated, but the brave men who took — risked their lives in an effort to rescue us prisoners of war were genuine American heroes,” McCain said Wednesday, according to NBC’s Frank Thorp.

McCain had been asked to respond to criticism from White House spokesman Sean Spicer, who had demanded an apology from McCain and others who spoke ill of the Yemen mission and didn’t call it a success.

McCain had a message for Spicer.

“Because the mission failed did not in any way diminish their courage and willingness to help their fellow Americans who were held captive,” McCain said. “Mr. Spicer should know that story.”

Trump continued his Twitter rant Thursday, saying McCain has been “losing so … long he doesn’t know how to win anymore, just look at the mess our country is in — bogged down in conflict all over the place.”

Megan Scully contributed to this report.