In a clip shared by ABC News Politics, Arizona Sen. John McCain appeared on The View and shared a moment of levity with the show's panel of anchors. The Arizona senator was there to celebrate the birthday of his daughter, who now is a co-host on the show, when Sonny Hostin asked him an interesting question. While discussing Donald Trump's recent warning for McCain, Hostin asked if McCain was afraid of Trump — and he laughed.
Hostin was referring to the most recent warning Trump issued for McCain on The Chris Plante show. McCain has been criticizing the president, recently warning Americans against "half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems."
Taking issue with that, Trump told Plante that he was "being nice" at the moment but he might "fight back."
And people have to be careful because at some point I fight back. I'm being very nice. I'm being very, very nice. But at some point I fight back, and it won't be pretty.
Is McCain afraid of Trump's threat? Not in the least, at least according to his grinning response to Hostin's question. After he — and the audience — laughed for a few seconds, McCain replied, "I mentioned that I had faced greater challenges."
Trump's attacks on McCain aren't out of the ordinary. In fact, a cursory glance at statements on the record show that the president has been criticizing McCain since 2015, at least. During that year, Trump publicly opined that McCain was not a war hero due to his record in Vietnam.
In a conversation with conservative political commentator and pollster, Frank Luntz, Trump said McCain "is not a war hero." Luntz argued with Trump and insisted that McCain "is a war hero." Trump interrupted Luntz and said, "He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured."
McCain's criticism of Trump seems to have not registered positively or constructively with the president. During the 2016 presidential campaign, McCain publicly withdrew his support for Trump after The Washington Post published The Access Hollywood tapes wherein Trump could be heard bragging about grabbing female genitalia. Although Trump issued an apology that later on called for scrutiny against Hillary Clinton, McCain maintained his position against the Republican presidential candidate.
McCain gave a comprehensive statement against Trump to Politico after the tapes were made public. In clear and unapologetic terms, the senator denounced the then-candidate's statements from the past.
"I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set," McCain said. "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."
McCain went on to say, "There are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments in the just released video; no woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences."
In spite of Trump's threat to "fight back," McCain doesn't appear to be bothered or even slightly hurried to change his views. It looks like his chuckle on The View is a summarized account of how the Arizona senator plans to maintain his position on the president, regardless of how "not pretty" it might turn out to be.