News & Politics

Why Are the McCains Able Forgive Biden But Not Trump?

Former Vice President Joe Biden wipes a tear away while giving a tribute during a memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Aug. 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A month ago, John McCain’s daughter Meghan defended Joe Biden by saying, “With all due respect, I know Joe Biden very well. He’s a very classy man. And I’m so sorry, but I cannot sit here and let his record or his character in any way being taken down.” Joe Biden is a lot of things… but a classy man he is not.

I, for one, will never forget that despicable moment when Joe Biden was campaigning in 2012 and said to a group of mostly African-Americans that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party would “put you all back in chains.” So, no, Meghan, that is not something a man of class and character would say. But, what is perhaps more shocking is that according to sources close to the McCain family, they will back Biden’s presidential bid. John McCain’s widow Cindy denies this at the moment, but should Biden become the Democratic nominee (which he won’t) I think we have reason to believe they will endorse him over Trump.

The McCains have definitely not been shy with their anti-Trumpism. Meghan McCain has said she’ll never forgive Donald Trump for attacking her father, but it’s curious why she has forgiven Joe Biden, and even defended Biden’s character, considering some of the slanderous attacks Biden made against John McCain during the 2008 campaign.

Back then it was widely reported that Joe Biden and John McCain had been longtime friends, and Biden even mentioned it in his speeches. But to hear the things he said about McCain at the time you would think they were longtime enemies. Once he joined Obama’s ticket, Biden put political aspirations above their friendship and repeatedly made low blows against McCain. Sure, many things can be written off as just part of politics, but in light of the disaster that became of the Obama years, and expressions of support of Biden by members of the McCain family, I decided to look back at some of the things Joe Biden said about John McCain that his family seems to be willing to forget. Sadly, even John McCain seemed to put the past attacks behind him when he chose to have both Obama and Biden deliver eulogies at his funeral.

In October 2008, Joe Biden denounced John McCain as “an angry man” and accused him of taking “the low road to the highest office in the land.”  That’s a low blow for someone who was supposedly friends with the man. When Sarah Palin rightly acknowledged Barack Obama’s friendship with terrorist Bill Ayers, Biden said, “To have a vice presidential candidate raise the most outrageous inferences – the ones that John McCain’s campaign is condoning – is simply wrong.” Did Obama have a relationship with terrorist Bill Ayers? Yes, he did. But to Biden, bringing that up, and questioning Obama’s character for who he chose to associate with was just a distraction. “Every single false charge and baseless accusation is an attempt to get you to stop paying attention to what’s going on in this country. Beyond the attacks, what is John McCain really offering?” he said. Yet, when the Obama campaign accused McCain of racism, where was Joe? When Obama accused McCain of trying to scare voters by mentioning Obama’s “funny name” or that “he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills,” I never once heard Joe Biden come to his “friend’s” defense.

Biden has always liked to bring up his middle-class origins on the stump, and, like many on the left, has taken the view that anyone of wealth is evil. Despite John McCain’s public profile, his wealth mostly came from his wife, Cindy McCain, but that didn’t stop Uncle Joe from mocking McCain about it by mentioning that the McCain family had seven homes at the time, which apparently made McCain unable to understand to middle-class struggles. “That’s not a worry John McCain has to worry about,” Biden said. “It’s a pretty hard experience: He’ll have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at.” Of course, both Biden and Obama have seen their personal wealth skyrocket since their time in the White House, and Biden has a six-figure speaking fee when he goes around the country (via a private plane) to mock President Trump.

Of course, this attack on McCain is especially absurd in light of how bad the Obama years were for the middle class: high gas prices, low wages, higher cost of healthcare thanks to Obamacare, record debt, a stagnant economy… things were so bad for the middle class that Biden himself admitted in 2012 that the middle class had been “buried the last four years” of the Obama-Biden years. Keep in mind that the recession was over just a few months into Obama’s presidency, but it took Trump being elected to get our economy out of the rut. While Obama and Biden benefited financially from their eight years in the White House, most of America struggled. So much for Scranton Joe’s middle-class empathy.

Let’s not forget, Barack Obama was the least qualified candidate of the entire Democratic Party candidates in 2008, and his selection of Joe Biden was obviously an attempt to balance his own inexperience. His biggest shortcoming—aside from his overall inexperience—was in foreign policy. Despite this, Biden’s tenure as vice president was marked by a long string of foreign policy failures, including poor choices with Iraq and Afghanistan, the Benghazi attack, Syria, the quagmire in Libya, the rise of ISIS, and the Iran deal, amongst others. In retrospect, Joe Biden’s claim that “Again and again, on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was proven right,” hasn’t aged well at all. It barely stood up to scrutiny then. While Obama claimed that his own opposition to the war in Iraq (when he wasn’t even in the Senate) was proof of his superior judgment, Joe Biden voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq.

But, Biden took his attacks on McCain’s foreign too far when he accused him of not supporting our troops and wanting to cut their funding. Despite any political disagreement you might have of John McCain, his support of the United States military was never in doubt. And such an attack seems even more absurd in light of the Obama-Biden legacy with the military. More than half of U.S. troops disapproved of Obama as commander-in-chief because of his lack of focus, and for making America less safe. Obama also cut vital military programs and left the military in a poor position to address current threats, thanks to his own reductions in funding.

Had John McCain been elected president, he may not have done a lot I agreed with, but he would have supported our military, unlike Obama. Joe Biden claimed to be McCain’s friend, and deep down he had to know that, but he lied about it anyway. “America needs more than a great soldier, they need a wise leader,” Biden said.

All you need to do is look at the foreign policy disasters of the Obama-Biden years to know that Biden or Obama were not wise leaders.

John McCain was never my favorite Republican, be it in 2008 when he ran against Obama and Biden, or in his final years opposing Donald Trump’s efforts to undo the damage of the Obama years, but John McCain would have made a much better president than Barack Obama, and the attacks on his character back when he sought the nation’s highest office by the Obama-Biden campaign (and Biden himself) were often despicable, especially when you consider Biden often referred to McCain as “a friend.” With friends like that, who needs enemies?

The McCain family’s defense of Biden (and the rumors of their eventual endorsement of his 2020 campaign) feels like a willingness to forget Biden’s sins simply because at the moment they hate Donald Trump. I won’t argue that some of Trump’s attacks on McCain were uncalled for, but if the McCains can give Biden a pass on the basis that it was “politics,” then surely they can acknowledge that Donald Trump is America’s best hope right now to reverse the damage done by the administration run by the two people who prevented John McCain from becoming president with an onslaught of smears.


Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in July. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis