Jeb Bladine: McCain peels back some Trump Teflon

The media often disdained Ronald Reagan as the “Teflon President,” citing bad decisions and poor government performance that didn’t conform to his popular public persona. Similarly, President Donald Trump seemingly has enjoyed a Teflon relationship with personal controversies, at least among his unfazed support base.

Some clashes, however, do return. Consider this week’s outpouring of respect for recently deceased U.S. Sen. John McCain, whose very public feud with the president officially began a month before Trump was elected.

It was Oct. 8 when McCain withdrew his support for Trump’s presidential candidacy with this statement:

“I have wanted to support the candidate our party nominated. He was not my choice, but as a past nominee, I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set. I thought I owed his supporters that deference. But Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy.”


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

McCain’s dramatic action followed the release of a 2005 recording of Trump making lewd comments that trivialized sexual assault against women. Trump responded, via Twitter, “The very foul-mouthed Sen. John McCain begged for my support during his primary (I gave, he won), then dropped me over locker room remarks!”

The feud continued through public insults, both veiled and direct. McCain, by then diagnosed with fatal brain cancer, cast a deciding vote to defeat a Republican plan to overturn the Affordable Care Act. He later requested that the president not attend his funeral services.

President Trump’s response to McCain’s death was in stark contrast to a national outpouring of praise for “an American hero.” One report said the president believes national media this week overplayed the story of McCain’s life.

Likely, the late senator’s feud with a controversial president did contribute to the level of media coverage. If so, it represents a Teflon failure for Trump via return of consequences from that infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.

McCain, meanwhile, earned his national acclaim with a lengthy and distinguished career of public service.

Today, McCain lies in state in the Capitol rotunda — the 13th former U.S. senator so honored. He will be laid to rest Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy following a Saturday morning private memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.


Don Dix

Questions -- Has there ever been a president of this country with a completely clean and uncontroversial life? With recoding devices in tow, what would be the result of a private, candid conversation with any president elected before such devices were invented?

Can anyone truthfully say they never engaged in or initiated 'locker room' talk? Such 'talk' has been prevalent throughout my life, and one can assume with a certain degree of confidence that it was not something new.

To say and do things that society has labeled as crude and vulgar is typical human behavior. Name-calling, ostracizing, bullying, and the like is certainly not confined only to those who appear in the news. The only difference between the subject and the critics is being caught -- or recorded.

Jeb Bladine

No, probably not.
Don't know.
Some people could say that, but many can't.

I would agree that most people would not want to be judged solely by the content of recordings made of selected comments made in their personal lives, and taken out of context from their personal relationships/conversations at the time.

This column focused on one such comment only because it had a major impact on the politics that produced the a high-profile feud between McCain and Trump. In other commentary, it would be more fair to focus on public statements, political speeches, Tweets, etc., representing the open and public sentiments of the speaker.


Trump has zero credibility or honor.....he is a self serving individual that is concerned only with himself.....He deserves no respect because he has earned none....


I never agreed with McCain's politics. Vietnam was our war. A mean nasty misguided war. McCain did his duty not like Trump who shirked his duty, bragged to a radio host avoiding venereal disease was his Vietnam. McCain continued to serve his Country. He did not ask for a big military parade and play at honoring solders to pit Americans against one another. Actions not words is what separates McCain from Trump.


From President Obama's eulogy (John McCain). "It brings to mind something that Hemingway wrote, in the book that Meghan referred to, his favorite book: “Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.” In captivity, John learned in ways that few of us ever will the meaning of those words—how each moment, each day, each choice is a test. And John McCain passed that test again and again and again. And that's why when John spoke of virtues like service and duty, it didn’t ring hollow. They weren't just words to him. It was a truth that he had lived and for which he was prepared to die. And it forced even the most cynical to consider, what were we doing for our country? What might we risk everything for?"

What was Trump doing for his country as McCain was held captive? What would Trump risk everything for? Trump aka Cadet Bonespurs should just shut his mouth when it comes to John McCain. The failed businessman, serial cheater and pathological liar really is out of his league when he tries to go head-to-head with McCain.

I didn't often agree with McCain, but he sacrificed and served and I respect that.


Ugh. No fan of Trump or his administration, but the NR and their never ending support of the far left is hardly any better.

No wonder nobody trusts the press anymore and why reporters are widely viewed as one of the lowest paid and respected professions in the land.

What happened to unbiased reporting?

I’ll stick with NPR instead of local papers with a biased, political agenda.

Keep it up. Maybe reporters will finally overtake used car salespeople as the lowest respected profession in the country.


You see left wing bias in this article?.....Really?


Denise - " .....never ending reporting of the far left? "

The editorial is about John McCain and Trump....both are republicans. I need to go back and re-read to find the "reporting of the far left."


‘What happened to unbiased reporting?’ Maybe Denise is unaware of the difference between unbiased reporting and an opinion piece. So sad. If you think NR is biased to the left, you really do have a warped view of the world.

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