Conservative commentator and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and CNN host Chris Cuomo went at it Thursday night over President Trump's treatment of John McCain and his response to the death of the latter.
Cuccinelli asked Cuomo how much attention or affection would be adequate for the media in a heated segment on the appropriate way for the president to handle McCain's death.
"What's enough, Chris? What's enough? What's enough?" Cuccinelli asked the host.
"More," Cuomo responded. "The basic standard of decency people do in these situations."
"He did speak to the senator's honorable service," Cuccinelli said. "He did offer condolences to the family. The question isn't that he's been disrespecting John McCain. It's what we just heard. He didn't do enough. He didn't do it fast enough. And when the veterans groups came back to him, he did respond to that request."
"Is it how you would have done it, Chris, or how I would have done it or how Nina would have done it? No. Is it how previous presidents have done it? No," Cuccinelli said.
The heated exchange:
CUOMO: Ken Cuccinelli, you're a Republican. Who do you think would have been a better president, John McCain or Barack Obama?
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL & POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, John McCain.
CUOMO: The president couldn't answer that question today.
CUCCINELLI: But we'd have been -- we'd have been -- we'd have been in wars all over the world, but --
CUOMO: The president was arch nemesis of Barack Obama. When he was asked that question today, the day that the senator of his own party was lying in repose and being memorialized, he could not answer that question. Petty or principled?
CUCCINELLI: Yes, I don't know that -- you know, John -- not John McCain. Donald Trump ran for president as a practicalist. I don't know that he ascribes to that, and he endorsed John McCain in his last election --
CUCCINELLI: -- in 2016 against a conservative. And I think he expected to build a relationship off that. That didn't happen.
John McCain was, of course, one of his most critical people in the Republican Party. And -- but at the same time, look, the notion that there was some opportunity to unite the country here, I think, is really quite silly.
And when veterans organizations did ask the White House to put the flag at half-staff, that's why they did it. So, let's get our facts at least in order.
TURNER: That's the point.
CUOMO: It's not a fact analysis.
CUCCINELLI: Go ahead.
CUOMO: They could have done it without being asked. He could have done it without being asked.
CUCCINELLI: He could have and he didn't.
CUOMO: He could have come out and said --
CUCCINELLI: He could have and he didn't.
CUOMO: He could have said to people, John McCain and I had our differences, but that's about politics, not people.
TURNER: That's right.
CUOMO: He was a great American. He will be missed. He will be remembered, and I wish him and his family well. That's it. And not only would --
CUCCINELLI: Well, he did the last part as soon as John died.
CUOMO: He would have liked this -- no, he put out --
CUCCINELLI: And he did it the way he usually does.
CUOMO: It was cursory. No, not the way he did when the Reverend Graham died, Nina Turner.
CUCCINELLI: What's enough, Chris? What's enough? What's enough?
CUOMO: More. The basic standard of decency people do in these situations. And guys reward him for doing less? ...
CUOMO: And instead, Ken, you don't hear that from any of you guys. You hear don't be so tough on him.
CUCCINELLI: Wait. You said you're going to let me respond.
CUOMO: Yes, I just want to tee it up for you. You guys say, well he was damned if he did, damned if he didn't. I don't think that's true. Go ahead.
CUCCINELLI: Well, look, he did say -- he did say -- he did speak to the senator's honorable service. He did offer condolences to the family.
The question isn't that he's been disrespecting John McCain. It's what we just heard. He didn't do enough. He didn't do it fast enough. And when the veterans groups came back to him, he did respond to that request.
Is it how you would have done it, Chris, or how I would have done it or how Nina would have done it? No. Is it how previous presidents have done it? No.
But, look, this guy wasn't hired because he was, you know, going to lead the way in knightly behavior, with a "K", knightly behavior. He was elected just to get things done, and he doesn't do these niceties well. He doesn't do them gently, and this is an example of it. But he does get the basics.