Trump signs bill named for McCain, fails to mention him
FORT DRUM, N.Y.
President Donald Trump on Monday signed a $716 billion defense policy bill named for John McCain but included no mention in his remarks of the Republican senator, who is battling brain cancer at home in Arizona.
Trump and McCain are engaged in a long-running feud that dates to Trump’s 2016 presidential run. At campaign rallies, Trump regularly castigates McCain – without using his name – for casting a dramatic thumbs-down vote that doomed Trump’s effort last year to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which was enacted by President Barack Obama.
Trump said there was “no better place than right here at Fort Drum” to celebrate passage of the defense bill, which will boost military pay by 2.6 percent, giving service members their largest increase in nine years.
The bill – formally the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act but referred to by Trump as simply the National Defense Authorization Act – will introduce thousands of new recruits to active duty, reserve and National Guard units and replace aging tanks, planes, ships and helicopters with more advanced and lethal technology, Trump said.
Later Monday, Trump referenced McCain – again without naming him – while talking about Obama’s health law at a fundraiser in Utica for Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney.
“I would’ve gotten rid of everything, but as you know, one of our wonderful senators had thumbs down at 2 o’clock in the morning,” Trump said, pantomiming the gesture.
The bill authorizes billions of dollars for military construction, including family housing.