In celebration of Donald Trump’s 73rd birthday on Friday, thousands of Twitter users made the hashtag #JohnMcCainDay go viral in order to honor the late Republican senator and rival of the president.
The trend started when Andy Lassner, the executive producer of The Ellen DeGeneres Show suggested his followers commemorate the president’s birthday by making McCain’s name appear all over the social media site.
“I’m sure this would mean a lot to patriot like Donald Trump,” Lassner wrote.
A petition on Change.org calling for June 14 (Trump’s birthday and Flag Day) to also be recognized as John McCain Day. The petition, started five days prior, was circulating on Twitter after the hashtag went viral.
McCain, a Navy veteran, longtime Arizona senator and two-time Republican presidential nominee, died in August 2018 after a yearlong battle with brain cancer. Trump repeatedly slammed the later senator during his final years in Congress and has continued to do so even after his death.
Their feud first began when Trump, who has been accused of lying about bone spurs to avoid the Vietnam War draft, said McCain was not a real hero because he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war during his time in the Navy. “I like people that weren’t captured,” Trump said on the 2015 campaign trail.
In March, nearly seven months after McCain’s death, Trump lamented that he didn’t get a “thank you” for giving the Republican icon “the funeral he wanted.” He then went on to blame McCain for the war in the Middle East and for not doing enough for veterans.
“I have to be honest: I’ve never liked him much, Trump said in his speech. “Hasn’t been for me. I’ve really—probably never will.”
A few weeks ago, the Trump administration was caught covering up the USS John S. McCain ship during the president’s visit to Japan. While Trump initially told the press that he had no knowledge of the cover-up, the Navy said in a statement that a “request” was made to keep the ship out of view.
“A request was made to the U.S. Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President’s visit,” Rear Admiral Charlie Brown, chief of Navy information, said in a statement. “There were also no intentional efforts to explicitly exclude Sailors assigned to USS John S. McCain.”
Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late senator and a co-host of The View, has repeatedly criticized Trump for his attacks on her father. Ahead of Father’s Day, Meghan McCain urged her Twitter followers to share stories of their deceased fathers.