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Isakson defends McCain after Trump attacks, but still doesn’t support renaming Russell

Isakson says Schumer is playing politics with effort to rename Russell building after the Arizona Republican

Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., left, shakes hands with Disabled American Veterans National Commander Dennis Nixon before the start of the Joint Hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees to receive the legislative presentation of the Disabled American Veterans on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., left, shakes hands with Disabled American Veterans National Commander Dennis Nixon before the start of the Joint Hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees to receive the legislative presentation of the Disabled American Veterans on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson is leading Republicans speaking out again against President Donald Trump’s bashing of the late Sen. John McCain, but the Georgia Republican reiterated Wednesday that he will not be joining the effort to put McCain’s name on the office building currently named for a favorite son of his home state.

“Lack of respect I would say is the right word,” Isakson said on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Political Rewind referring to Trump’s latest criticism of McCain.

“It’s deplorable what he said. That’s what I called it from the floor of the Senate seven months ago. It will be deplorable seven months from now if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out,” Isakson said. “There aren’t Democratic casualties and Republican casualties on the battlefield. There are American casualties, and we should never reduce the service that people give to this country — including the offering of their own life — to political fodder in Washington, D.C., or anywhere else for that matter.”

Isakson was not alone among senators speaking out in recent days in support of McCain’s life and legacy.

Also watch: Trump: ‘I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be’

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“Today and every day I miss my good friend John McCain. It was a blessing to serve alongside a rare patriot and genuine American hero in the Senate. His memory continues to remind me every day that our nation is sustained by the sacrifices of heroes,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted on Wednesday.

Isakson said that he had dinner with McConnell earlier this week in Georgia.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, meanwhile, said he would be reviving a legislative effort to rename the current Russell Senate Office Building after McCain.

The current namesake, Richard B. Russell, was a legendary Southern Democrat from Georgia who was a very accomplished legislator, but also a leading opponent of legislative efforts to end legal segregation.

Chuck Schumer’s just playing politics. I’ll stand up for the legacy and the right of Richard Russell to do what he did, and for the people of Georgia to have — the people of the United States have — that building named after him,” he said. “To quote Zell Miller, I’ll think about that when they take the Washington name off the Washington Monument and Jefferson’s name off the Jefferson Memorial.”