Meghan McCain dons 'Big Bad John McCain' shirt as veterans troll Trump's July 4 parade

 ·  BrieAnna J. Frank, AZ Central   ·   Link to Article

Meghan McCain on Thursday posted a picture of herself wearing a shirt in honor of her late father John McCain that is being handed out by veterans at President Donald Trump's Fourth  of July celebration in Washington, D.C.

McCain wrote in the Instagram post that she "couldn't figure out what to wear today" and that the shirt was "perfect."

Trump's event was set to include Army tanks, a flyover of military jets, fireworks and a speech by Trump — the first time in decades that a president has addressed the Independence Day crowd in the nation's capital.

Trump has been promoting the event for months, tweeting on Thursday that it would be "one of the biggest celebrations in the history of our Country." 

Protests were expected following criticism of Trump over the costs of the event and accusations that the president is politicizing a traditionally nonpartisan event.

The shirt was made by the veterans groups VoteVets and Rags of Honor and features an image of the USS John S. McCain, a destroyer currently being used by the U.S. Navy. 

Underneath the image are the words "Big Bad John McCain," a nod to the destroyer's nickname.

In May, the Pentagon and Trump's administration were embroiled in controversy when the White House's military liaison office ordered that the ship be hidden during Trump's visit to Japan.

The order was not fulfilled, but the incident set off international outrage. Trump initially responded to the controversy by tweeting on May 29 that he was "not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain."

Trump later told reporters at the White House that aides "thought they were doing me a favor because they know I am not a fan of John McCain."

"Somebody did it because they thought I didn't like him, OK?" Trump told reporters at the White House. "And they were well-meaning, I will say ... I didn't know anything about it; I would never have done that."

In a separate Instagram post, VoteVets encouraged the public to wear the shirts to the D.C. celebration and to use the hashtag #McCain4th.

The post linked to the Rags of Honor website, where the shirts were being sold for $30.

VoteVets had a tense relationship with McCain that included a 2014 incident where the group criticized him for allegedly posing for a photo with "ISIS fighters" in 2013.

McCain called the charge a fabrication, but the photo was nevertheless distributed in a VoteVets fundraising e-mail.

"It is shameful that the liberal group VoteVets would completely fabricate this obviously false smear, but it just shows how far some of President Obama's defenders will go to attack anyone who criticizes his failed foreign policy," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said at the time.

VoteVets chair and Iraq War veteran Jon Soltz acknowledged the group's rocky history with McCain.

“We had a lot of policy battles with Sen. McCain, and fights on issues of war, but we always respected his service, and his sacrifice,” the statement on the group's website read. “July 4 is about coming together as a country, to celebrate what has bound us together since 1776 – the belief in something bigger than yourself."

"While VoteVets and John McCain never much saw eye-to-eye on policy, and probably still would not if he was around today, his family’s service to America spoke to that sense of realizing this nation is bigger than just one man.  Honoring that kind legacy – especially of a political opponent’s – seemed fitting for July 4.”

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