“You’re talking about a group of people who have felt powerless and voiceless for many years until President Trump came along, and they’re going to be loyal to him. It’s part of the fabric of their life,” said Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), who has run Trump-style insurgent campaigns in his state. “To those people, McCain was the embodiment of a lifetime career politician.”

Mike Shields, a Republican consultant who has worked with Trump’s political team, said Trump is tapping into how “a significant number of voters in this country have seen politicians that lie to them, make promises, are disingenuous, who are basically not themselves. They aren’t real. When the president does things like this, he is real. There’s a currency for that.”…

Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly assured his aides that McCain is not popular with his supporters and that the fallout is negligible, according to a senior Trump administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Several Trump and GOP officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly, said that Trump’s animus is fueled by his own seething anger more than anything and by his long-held belief that McCain and his allies in the party have worked to undermine his presidency from the start.