Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar on Saturday told a crowd of voters in Iowa that late Arizona Sen. John McCain “kept reciting” the names of dictators to her during President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech in January 2017.
“John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech,” the Minnesota senator said, “because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation, he understood it.”
She continued: “He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did.”
Trump and McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, were frequently at odds over Trump’s approach to campaigning and eventually, his performance as president.
In 2015, Trump attacked McCain – who had been held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam – as “not a war hero” and again criticized McCain after he died of brain cancer in August 2018.
“I was never a fan of John McCain and I will never be,” Trump said earlier this year.
In one of his final public statements in July 2018, McCain blasted Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “tragic mistake.”
“The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate,” he said.
On Saturday, Klobuchar – who has previously touted her relationship with McCain while on the campaign trail – said an “arch of justice” started after Trump’s “dark inauguration.”
“The path that we are on did not just start today. It didn’t just start with the 2020 debates,” she said. “The arch that we are on, this arch of justice started that day after that dark inauguration.”
On Monday, McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, rebuked Klobuchar for bringing up her father to criticize Trump.
“On behalf of the entire McCain family - @amyklobuchar please be respectful to all of us and leave my fathers legacy and memory out of presidential politics,” “The View” co-host tweeted.
CNN’s Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.