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Readers React: John McCain was the quintessential honorable American. His death puts Trump’s behavior into sharper focus

Sen. John McCain arrives in the Capitol to vote against a GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act in July 2017, less than two weeks after surgery and days after his office announced he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Sen. John McCain arrives in the Capitol to vote against a GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act in July 2017, less than two weeks after surgery and days after his office announced he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
(Oliver Contreras / For The Washington Post)

To the editor: While I didn’t agree politically with Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday, I have a great amount of respect for him, something I will never have for President Trump.

My first glimpse of Trump’s moral turpitude came in 2015 when he said this about McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” This came from someone who sought and received five draft deferments and famously told Howard Stern that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was his “personal Vietnam.”

On Thursday, McCain the American hero will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol — juxtaposed with Trump, the American embarrassment who will just lie.

Ron Diton, Upland

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To the editor: Few Republicans have inspired me, a lifelong Democrat, like McCain, whose courage, integrity and bipartisan spirit made him a true legend. In this era of lies, deceit and “alternative facts,” he stood in stark relief.

In contrast to our draft-dodging president, who actually criticized the Arizona senator for being a prisoner of war, McCain showed what it meant to love and defend our country.

I am hurt by McCain’s death. I am hurt that his passing leaves a void that will not be filled by those in Congress. I am hurt that this America voted for a man who is not fit to lick McCain’s boots.

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Paula Petrotta, Rancho Palos Verdes

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With McCain’s passing, I feel this bottomless pit of nostalgia for the past. Someone like McCain made me feel proud and privileged to live in America.

Lynn Lorenz, Newport Beach

To the editor: Why do I mourn the death of McCain as much if not more than someone I might know personally?

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With McCain’s passing, I feel this bottomless pit of nostalgia for the past. Someone like McCain made me feel proud and privileged to live in America. As a lifelong Democrat, I certainly didn’t always agree with his decisions and at times I was very disappointed in his politics. But maybe that is part of the reason I admired him so.

Despite these differences, he had an indelible quality of humanity and strength.

He must have learned these valuable lessons as a POW — that being human was the most important quality of all.

Lynn Lorenz, Newport Beach

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To the editor: We as a nation mourn the loss of a great American in McCain. But we must not forget that the best of us have made bad choices in life.

In 1987, the so-called Keating Five group of senators, which included McCain, urged federal investigators to back off Charles Keating and his Lincoln Savings and Loan. These senators did so after receiving a combined $1.3 million in campaign contributions from Keating.

Ultimately, regulators did back off. In 1989, taxpayers were put on the hook for $3.4 billion in bailouts.

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Manuel S. Reynosa, Ventura

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To the editor: I had never read how McCain responded during the 2008 presidential campaign to someone saying about then-Sen. Barack Obama that “he’s an Arab.”

McCain responded: “No ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what the campaign about.”

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Reading about that brought home the difference between this astute man that we have lost and our current president, who, during his campaign, led audiences in “lock her up” chants about his opponent.

I’m crying that the last stalwart of the Republican Party is gone, and the GOP has succumbed to this reality-star president who has maligned our greatest allies, cozied up with autocrats, antagonized our free press, degraded women and immigrants, failed to condemn white supremacists and cares nothing for the truth.

McCain’s death is a sad occurrence indeed.

Amy Siroky, Arroyo Grande

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