In an interview aired Friday morning by the Fox Business network, President Donald Trump again voiced his public displeasure about actions of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), at one point admonishing TV host Maria Bartiromo for pressing him several times about why he was criticizing someone who is dead, suggesting that the subject wasn't supposed to be part of the exclusive White House interview.
"Now, I could say I have no comment, but that's not me," the President told Bartiromo, who had just questioned how Mr. Trump could unite the country at the same time he was blasting a dead U.S. Senator.
"You shouldn't have brought it up," the President told Bartiromo after she asked about McCain. "Actually, I thought you weren't supposed to bring it up. But that's okay, fake news."
"No, it's not fake news," Bartiromo countered, as the President again criticized McCain for giving the Steele Dossier to the FBI some two months after the law enforcement agency had already received the materials alleging ties between Russia and officials tied to the Trump campaign.
"He handed something to the FBI on me - he knew it was a fake," Mr. Trump said.
“I’m not a fan,” the President said.
👀 Trump suggests Fox promised him they wouldn’t ask about McCain— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) March 22, 2019
“I thought you weren’t supposed to bring it up.” pic.twitter.com/9R3Z0K1O1b
Bartiromo later said there had been no conditions at all on the subject of Sen. McCain.
“My thanks to President Trump for joining us and for the record, there were no conditions or stipulations agreed to ahead of that interview,” Bartiromo said on Friday.
During the interview, Bartiromo questioned why the President would continue to tangle with McCain, saying, “Mr. President, he's dead. He can't punch back. I know you punch back, but he's dead.”
"It was a fraud," Mr. Trump said of the Steele Dossier, as he said McCain had given the documents to "the FBI for very evil purposes."
In Congress, most Republicans remained fairly silent about the President's public blasts at McCain, with a few lone voices urging him to move on to something else, like freshmen Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX).
Mr. President, seriously stop talking about Senator McCain.— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) March 21, 2019
There is just no reason to be talking about Senator McCain after he has passed. He is not your poltical enemy Mr. President.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) March 21, 2019
In the Fox Business interview, President Trump again complained about the Mueller probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
As the President left the White House on Friday morning for his Florida retreat, Mr. Trump said he knew nothing about the status of the Mueller investigation.
“I have no idea about the Mueller report,” Mr. Trump said as he walked up to reporters gathered on the South Lawn on the White House.
The President also criticized Democrats in Congress over their investigations into various White House and Trump Administration matters, saying it was just an extension of the Mueller probe.
"This is a continuation of the same witch hunt," Mr. Trump said, in a familiar refrain.