Actually, it’s ridiculous that we’re having a public debate over whether a dying man should be obliged to invite someone whom he deeply dislikes to his farking funeral. It’s his funeral! If he wants to deny Trump a statesmanlike photo op at his family’s expense, okay. If he wants jugglers there, okay. Whatever makes him happy and gives him comfort in his final days. It’s weird that anyone would harass him publicly about Trump as the country braces to pay its respects, especially a guy whom he’s worked with for 30+ years in the Senate.
Has anyone considered whether maybe Trump is relieved that he’s being given a pass on going? Can you imagine the intense awkwardness of him having to gladhand not just the McCain family and Obama but the many Vietnam POWs in attendance after he made his infamous “joke” about troops who didn’t get captured in 2015? McCain asking him not to come was an act of kindness under the circumstances.
Hatch allows that McCain’s wishes should be followed. Well, great. But why magnify this subject by scolding him over it then?
Hatch said he thought keeping the president from his funeral was too much: “I think it’s ridiculous.”
“Well, he’s the president of the United States and he’s a very good man. But it’s up to [McCain]. I think John should have his own wishes fulfilled with regard to who attends the funeral,” said the Utah senator. Asked whether McCain should change his mind about Trump, Hatch said: “I would.”
Hatch said he does not expect McCain, who is battling brain cancer, to return to the Senate.
“That’s what I’ve been told,” said Hatch, who is 84 and retiring after this year. “I don’t know. I hope he does, I hope he can.”
“He would be a very interesting speaker and would do a good job for John,” said Hatch of Trump. Can’t knock him there. A Trump eulogy for McCain sure would be “interesting.”
The news here amid the funeral drama is Hatch saying that McCain’s not expected to return to work. I think most political junkies assumed that, as you don’t typically hear funeral chatter around a man with brain cancer if his prognosis has improved, but this is the first solid indication that the seat will be vacant sometime this year. A distasteful but important question is when exactly the vacancy opens since the rules for filling the seat change depending upon the date. I didn’t realize it until recently but apparently Arizona law makes May 31 a key date for special-election purposes:
According to the Secretary of State’s Office’s, if McCain left office by May 31, Ducey would appoint a temporary replacement and Arizona voters would choose their next senator in November. If the office became vacant on June 1 or thereafter, Ducey’s appointee would serve until the seat went onto the ballot in 2020. (Note: there is some dispute about the date. While the Secretary of State’s Office puts the deadline at May 31, elections lawyer Joe Kanefield notes that ARS16-202 requires the ballot to be finalized 120 days before the primary election, which would put the date by which a vacancy must occur at April 30.)
Sometimes I see people online demanding that McCain step down now if his health is too poor to let him serve. If he did that, a November special election would be triggered and Democrats would have the chance to swipe both seats in Arizona amid a very favorable political climate. He’s holding on to try to spare his party that added difficulty. And of course to let Doug Ducey, not the Trumpy populists of the Arizona GOP primary electorate, decide who his immediate successor will be.
Here’s Jake Tapper marveling that a war hero turned senator disinviting the president of the United States from his funeral is “a real moment for the country.” That’s one way to put it.