Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has done a sudden about-face concerning his views on whether President Trump should be allowed to attend the funeral of Senator John McCain (R-Az), who is at home battling a serious case of brain cancer.
Hatch, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, had responded to a report that McCain did not want Trump there when he eventually passes by saying that was “ridiculous” and that he didn’t think McCain would be able to return to the Senate.
Hatch had a sudden change of heart and apologized to McCain after the ailing Senator’s daughter Megan McCain said on the ABC morning show The View, which she co-hosts.
“I’d like everybody to take a collective breath,” said Meghan McCain, “and chill out on my dad for a second – especially Orrin Hatch.”
Hatch also apologized for saying McCain would not return to the Senate in a letter he sent to the Senator at his home in Arizona.
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) May 8, 2018
Although Hatch has been slavishly loyal to Trump since he took office, and has often defended the president, this time he ate crow and showed his remorse.
“I agree with the daughter,” Hatch told The Washington Post today. “I shouldn’t have said anything yesterday. I agree a hundred percent with her.”
McCain and Trump have had a long acrimonious relationship.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had criticized McCain and said the decorated Vietnam War veteran was not a hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese and held prisoner – refusing to leave when offered an opportunity unless the other men held captive were let out as well. They were not and he stayed on.
Hatch said that he considers McCain a “hero” both for his courage during the Vietnam War and for his achievements in the Congress.
McCain said Hatch, “will go down in history as a wonderful senator.”
That is true although it is unlikely Hatch, who at age 84 has announced this will be his seventh and final term, will be remembered as favorably.
In the past year plus, Hatch has carried out Trump’s agenda even when it rolled back many of America’s past achievements, destroying the environment, giving an excessive tax cut to the rich and taking away health care form millions.
McCain supported many traditional Republican positions but he stood up to Trump when it was clear the president was wrong and a liar, for which he will be remembered as someone who stood tall when the chips were down.