Veterans groups Vote Vets and Rags of Honor plan to hand out T-shirts to rally-goers who attend President Donald Trump‘s Independence Day remarks this year on the Washington Mall.
The organizations announced late last week their plans to hand out the T-shirts, which will feature the image of the Navy destroyer USS John McCain. The imagery will include the nickname of the boat on the shirt: “Big Bad John,” The Hill reported.
Many view the move as a tongue-in-cheek method to “troll” Trump during his speech. The president and the late Sen. John McCain had a rivalry with one another, with Trump once deriding McCain for having been a prisoner of war.
Trump had suggested in 2015, for instance, his prisoner status during the Vietnam War did not warrant people describing McCain as a hero. “I like people who weren’t captured,” he said, per the BBC report at the time.
Mark Doyle, founder of Rags of Honor, insisted the organization was trying to show respect to McCain, his father, and his grandfather, all three of whom the USS John McCain is named after.
“Whether it was Sen. McCain, his father, his grandfather or his sons, the McCain family has given more to this country than most, and America’s birthday seems like a great time to honor that service and sacrifice,” Doyle Said. “After all, people like them – and there aren’t many – made these kinds of celebrations possible.”
This wouldn’t be the first instance of people “trolling” Trump using McCain’s imagery. Earlier this year, on June 14 — the president’s birthday — users on social media successfully made the hashtag #JohnMcCainDay trend, per a previous report from DeadState.
Many have criticized Trump’s planned Independence Day speech. It’s atypical for a president to include himself in the D.C.-area festivities or to address the nation during what’s supposed to be a non-political event.
“President Trump’s efforts to insert politics into a celebration of our nation’s history is extremely alarming,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said earlier this year, when the president announced his planned speech, Fox News reported. “Forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for what amounts to a political rally is irresponsible and a misuse of funds. I strongly urge the president to reconsider his proposed event”
Featured image via WJLA