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In death, as in life, John McCain has a way of bringing out loons

WASHINGTON – President Trump displayed his innate grace and decency Saturday by spiking a White House statement honoring the late Sen. John McCain’s life. Monday morning, the flag over the White House was – until criticism poured in – back to full staff, six days before protocol says it should have been. Even for Trump, this seemed churlish. Unless … John McCain is not dead.

When McCain’s family put out the news last Friday he had discontinued treatment for his terminal brain cancer, this was done “to take media attention” from Senate candidate Kelli Ward, and, according to Ward herself, replace it with a “narrative that they hope is negative to me.” Ward unsuccessfully challenged McCain in the 2016 Republican primary in Arizona, so it makes complete sense that, two years later,he would arrange his death to divert attention from Ward’s tour.

Furthermore, according to a conspiracy theory network popular among some Trump boosters, when McCain supposedly died on Saturday, he did not succumb to cancer but took his own life to avoid being hauled off to Guantanamo Bay and put before a military tribunal for his longtime work helping Islamic State terrorists and others. And before he died, he concealed his criminal ankle bracelet by wearing a medical boot on his leg. Unless, of course, the suicide, like the cancer, was a ruse. In that case, he will continue secret work for the deep state and Clinton Foundation…. In death, as in life, McCain has a way of bringing out the loons. Undoubtedly the posthumous conspiracy theories would have amused him as much as anybody. …

No matter the evidence, “still the conspiracy theorists hock their wares,” he wrote in 2009, introducing a book refuting 9/11 conspiracy notions. “They ignore the methods of science, the protocols of investigation and the dictates of logic. The conspiracy theorists chase any bit of information, no matter how flimsy, and use it to fit their preordained conclusions. They ascribe to the government, or to some secretive group, powers wholly out of proportion to what the evidence suggests. And they ignore the facts that are present in plain sight. We cannot let these tales go unanswered.”

Answering those tales is even more important at a time when the president amplifies and echoes them. In his love of truth, McCain was the anti-Trump. …

Last Thursday, as the Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng and Will Sommer reported, Trump hosted Lionel Lebron, a prominent conspiracy theorist, and posed with him in the Oval Office. Lebron is a 9/11 truther who believes Trump is fighting the deep state and globalist pedophiles and (is) a leading promoter of the online network floating McCain is alive or a suicide. …

With the exception of Hillary Clinton, perhaps nobody stoked the conspiracy crowd’s fevers like McCain. He was “songbird” McCain, a secret agent of the North Vietnamese who threw the 2008 election to Obama, covertly met with Islamic State leaders in Syria, secretively started the Mueller “witch hunt” … and was “in bed with the Clinton Foundation.”…

McCain would have a ready rejoinder for these “deathers” – as he did … in 2008 (for) the supporter who called Obama an “Arab”; ridiculed “chemtrail Kelli Ward” in 2016 for promoting … jet contrails spread biological weapons and change weather; and denounced the “nutty conspiracy theory” in 2015 accusing him of staging Islamic State beheadings.

McCain answered these nuts with calm reason. In memory of him, let’s continue his fight until they, and their leader in the Oval Office, return to the crevices whence they came.