During a news conference in New York Tuesday, President Donald Trump verbally swiped at Arizona Sen. John McCain – twice – overtly blaming him for the failure of his much-touted health care bill.
The first comment came after a reporter asked Trump how he planned to get an infrastructure measure through when he could not get his health care bill passed.
“Well you, I’ll tell you. We came very close with health care. Unfortunately, John McCain decided to vote against it at the last minute,” Trump said. “You’ll have to ask John McCain why he did that.”
[WATCH RAW VIDEO: “Unfortunately, John McCain decided to vote against it at the last minute.”]
The second came later in the news conference when reporters were asking questions about the recent violence in Charlottesville, VA and Trump’s assertion that “there is blame on both sides.”
A reporter asked about McCain’s defense of national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster against attacks by the alt-right and his request that Trump do the same.
“You mean Sen. McCain, who voted against us getting good health care?” Trump asked. “I’m sure Sen. McCain must know what he’s talking about.”
[WATCH RAW VIDEO: “You mean Sen. McCain, who voted against us getting good health care?”]
The president then demanded the reporter define “alt-right.”
This is not the first time Trump has taken aim at McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.
It ramped up before the election with McCain withdrew his support for Trump in his run for the White House after the release of a damaging video from 2005 that shows Trump making crude and sexist remarks.
Days later Trump took to Twitter to attack McCain and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Trump lashed out on Twitter again not long after taking office. The attack, which came after the senator criticized an American operation in Yemen that left a Navy SEAL dead, was a personal one.
“[McCain has] been losing so long he doesn’t know how to win anymore …,” he tweeted, describing the Yemen raid as “a winning mission.”
The string of tweets started with an admonition.
“Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy!”
Following the election of Donald Trump in 2016, McCain has repeatedly blasted the Republican president for his handling of Russia and its efforts to meddle in the election as well as for Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
Since Trump’s election, McCain seems to have emerged as his “top nemesis in Congress,” according to The Associated Press.
But the roots of Trump’s apparent animosity toward Arizona’s senior senator go back well before the presidential campaign and election.
Going back to July 2015, Trump sparked a political firestorm by blasting McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War, and his military service.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in a TV interview. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, I have to tell you.”
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