They Can’t Help Themselves: CNN Makes Reaction to McCain’s Arizona Funeral About Trump

From the moment the late Republican Senator John McCain’s Arizona memorial service ended Thursday afternoon, CNN’s assembled panelists continued the embarrassing network’s obsession with tying McCain tributes to President Donald Trump, the latter’s attacks on the former, and how McCain was the anti-Trump.

Special correspondent Jamie Gangel went there moments after the funeral ended, discussing how former Vice President Joe Biden’s eulogy was not only “to comfort his family and his friends” or “celebrate the man and his legacy” but instead harp on Trump because “[s]o many of the things that he talked about John McCain, respect, dignity, civility, bipartisanship, they’re just that much more potent in this day and age.”

 

 

Longtime CNN political commentator David Gergen also couldn’t help but make McCain’s passing about the 2020 presidential campaign, suggesting that Biden’s eulogy addressed concerns that he couldn’t run for president:

[A]nd of course, many in politics are wondering, is Joe Biden the right person? Is he too old to run for President? Can he take it? Can he handle it? I think, with a lot of people, would probably — this is probably the biggest speech he's probably going to make for at least the next year and so, it’s going to have a lot of, I think, remembrance.

Moments later, Gangel and host Wolf Blitzer harped on the fact that Trump was not invited to McCain’s Washington D.C. memorial service but the Clintons were. Gangel explained that “now everyone was invited except Donald Trump” while Bush 41 and the Carters presumably won’t be there due to their old age.

“But we’re going to have the Clinton’s, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and I just thought it was very nice — it was either President Obama or President George W. Bush there honored to be — they were the ones honored to be ask to give this speech,” Gangel added. 

Blitzer lobbed a softball to Gergen about what that meant and the liberal partisan responded that “it's yet one more unfortunate sign about where we are as a people” but he agreed with the decision because “it would have been a lot of controversy” with “[e]verybody would have been watching the Trump's had they been there, trying to read this or that into it.”

Also being someone who dislikes the President, weekend hosts David Axelrod and S.E. Cupp picked up on that by clearing alluding to the President (click “expand” to read more):

CUPP: Just one more thought on Joe Biden. I think, David Gergen, you said it perfectly when you noted his anger. He was angry today and that's because we all know how much we lose in John McCain. We know the stakes are so high and it feels as though, in many ways, John McCain and his sensibility are of the past. That makes us angry. That makes us scared. That makes us afraid. In the end, he gave us his words of optimism to not be afraid, to — to know this, too, shall pass and we'll be stronger for it. 

DAVID AXELROD: In Biden's remarks, the things that stood out among many were when he talked Senator McCain saying he could not stand the abuse of power, wherever he found it, giving hate no safe harbor and those words — those words hit very hard. 

CUPP: Yes.

AXELROD: And I think were very true. 

Gergen sang the virtues of bipartisanship (which CNN laughably is only interested in if Republicans are the ones caving to Democrats), but this theme was clearly a direct rebuke to Trump. Gergen went as far as to suggest that voters think long and hard about who they vote for this fall (read: Democrats):

Don't you also hope the message goes to voters in the midterm elections about looking for people with these kind of values and what they believe in? If we are going break out of this, we’re going to need people with fresh ideas and a fresh generation who are committed to his ideals? I thought that was a powerful part of what we heard going on today. 

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s coverage of John McCain’s Arizona funeral, click “expand.”

The Funeral of Senator John McCain
August 30, 2018
2:34 p.m. Eastern

JAMIE GANGEL:  I also thought Joe Biden' eulogy was extraordinary because it seemed to me, it — it was on three levels. It was a eulogy to comfort his family and his friends, a eulogy to celebrate the man and his legacy. But I also think it had a third audience and that was Donald Trump. So many of the things that he talked about John McCain, respect, dignity, civility, bipartisanship, they’re just that much more potent in this day and age. 

(....)

DAVID GERGEN: In the political world, I think most of the conversation will be about Joe Biden. That was a remarkable eulogy on his part and of course, many in politics are wondering, is Joe Biden the right person? Is he too old to run for President? Can he take it? Can he handle it? I think, with a lot of people, would probably — this is probably the biggest speech he's probably going to make for at least the next year and so, it’s going to have a lot of, I think, remembrance.

(....)

WOLF BLITZER: And, Jaime, you have been doing some reporting. Former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, they will be — they are invited to the National Cathedral as well. 

GANGEL: Correct. So now everyone was invited except Donald Trump. So, the Clintons will be there. President Bush 41 because of his health won’t be there. I think the same is probably the case with the Carters. But we’re going to have the Clinton’s, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and I just thought it was very nice — it was either President Obama or President George W. Bush there honored to be — they were the ones honored to be ask to give this speech. 

BLITZER: And John McCain personally asked them to do so. 

GANGEL: Right. 

BLITZER: What does it say to you that the former Presidents will be there, the current President won’t? 

DAVID GERGEN: Well, I think it's yet one more unfortunate sign about where we are as a people. I very much respect John McCain's judgment in that. I think it would have been extremely — it would have been a lot of controversy. Everybody would have been watching the Trump's had they been there, trying to read this or that into it and instead, what we have in the very memorable phrase from Senator Sasse, a hymn to America. 

GANGEL: Somewhere, John McCain said “amen” after Ben Sasse said that.. 

S.E. CUPP: Just on that, you know, people are going to ask who can replace John McCain? The answer is no one. Period. But in terms of the senate, you should an eye on Ben Sasse because he, in many ways, the moral certitude, the moral fortitude, the respect for civility and decency that John McCain treasured so deeply. Just one more thought on Joe Biden. I think, David Gergen, you said it perfectly when you noted his anger. He was angry today and that's because we all know how much we lose in John McCain. We know the stakes are so high and it feels as though, in many ways, John McCain and his sensibility are of the past. That makes us angry. That makes us scared. That makes us afraid. In the end, he gave us his words of optimism to not be afraid, to — to know this, too, shall pass and we'll be stronger for it. 

DAVID AXELROD: In Biden's remarks, the things that stood out among many were when he talked Senator McCain saying he could not stand the abuse of power, wherever he found it, giving hate no safe harbor and those words — those words hit very hard. 

CUPP: Yes.

AXELROD: And I think were very true. 

BLITZER: How did you see it? 

BECKY TALLENT: I also found it interesting during Biden's remark that he kept clearly turning and addressing the U.S. senators that were there. It appeared that they were all kind of sitting off to the left and you could find him — you could find him kind of trying to have a one-on-one conversation with them. I know there are comments about whether he was addressing Trump, but he was definitely addressing the U.S. Senate as well

AXELROD:  36 years of habit. 

TALLENT: Good point. Good point. He never met an audience he didn’t love. But, you could see that him calling them to arms on it, too and, you know, we lost senator Kennedy, we lost Senator McCain and a lot of people have lost these lions of the Senate. But it's important not to miss the idea there are these up-and-comers that have the potential to become that. We don't need to give up on this generation of politicians. There's still opportunity for some of these people to grow into the alliance of the senate and I think — I think there was some call to arms there for the Senators and the House members and the other politicians that were there too and there were a lot of them there for former and current.

BLITZER: Yeah. Well, you were pointing out — what — 25, 26 current and former senators were there. Half Democrats, half Republicans.

GERGEN: Exactly half. Exactly half. And they had four former, two Democrats and two Republicans. I just — in knowing how much that Senator McCain put into planning this, you know that was purposeful. He really did meant to send a signal and to have that, the symbolism that’s going on throughout the ceremony, not just in the words, but the symbolism is, I think, really, really well done. It sends a powerful message about his values.

(....)

BLITZER: You know, Jaime, can't help but think if John McCain were around, what he’d be saying about all of this.

GANGEL: I think it went right according to plan and I just want to come back to this notion — this theme the of bipartisanship. There are three sentences I will never forget from today and those were: “I'm Joe Biden. I’m a Democrat,” and “I love John McCain.” Ant that message is going to go forward, as we were talking before about sending a message to those senators who are sitting there and what comes next. Hopefully, look, John McCain set this up. There was a lot of bipartisanship, a lot of Democrats, so that message goes forward.

GERGEN: Don't you also hope the message goes to voters in the midterm elections about looking for people with these kind of values and what they believe in? If we are going break out of this, we’re going to need people with fresh ideas and a fresh generation who are committed to his ideals? I thought that was a powerful part of what we heard going on today. 


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NBDaily Conservatives & Republicans CNN CNN Newsroom Video David Gergen Jamie Gangel Wolf Blitzer David Axelrod S.E. Cupp Joe Biden Donald Trump John McCain
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