WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump defended his ongoing attacks on the late Sen. John McCain Tuesday, saying he never liked the Arizona senator over differences that included Russia and health care.
"I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be," Trump told reporters at the White House, answering a question before a meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Supporters of McCain said they don't understand why Trump would continually criticize a dead man, especially one who represented Republicans as their 2008 presidential nominee.
During a series of tweets over the weekend, Trump hit McCain over over his handling of a dossier compiled by a former British spy on Trump's relationship with Russia leading up to the 2016 election.
"So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) 'last in his class' (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election," Trump tweeted on Sunday. "He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!"
Trump also blamed McCain for casting a key vote against a Republican health-care plan.
More: Nation's political leaders pay tribute as Sen. John McCain lies in state at U.S. Capitol
More: Social media responds to emotional John McCain memorial by talking Trump
McCain supporters pointed out that Trump was incorrect about the late senator's class standing - he finished fifth from the bottom at the Naval Academy, something he joked about frequently. They also called the attacks disrespectful to the longtime senator, veteran and former prisoner of war.
"Your life is spent on your weekends not with your family, not with your friends, but obsessing, obsessing over great men you could never live up to," daughter Meghan McCain said of her father on her television program, "The View."
The Trump-McCain feud goes back to the summer of 2015, when Trump kindled it by mocking McCain's experience as a POW in Vietnam.
"He's not a war hero," Trump said then. "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump: 'I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be'