The former Celebrity Apprentice star told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that, when the Republican was running against Barack Obama in the 2008 election, the president boasted that he was McCain’s “good friend.”
The 47-year-old revealed that the subject came up when she visited the real estate mogul in his Trump Tower office in New York City, after she commented on a photo of Sarah Palin that she said she spotted on his desk. At the time Palin was McCain’s running mate.
“I go, ‘Oh hell no. I know you’re not about to vote for them.’” Jordan said, recounting the conversation. “I go, ‘McCain seems all right, but you want that to be the vice president?’ And he said to me, and you can quote me, ‘I like your guy [Obama]. I like your guy, but I’m a good friend of John McCain and I just feel like I got to support my friend.’”
Jordan added: “He said, ‘I’m a good friend of John McCain, so I’m going to vote for him.’ And look how he’s turned on him and called him not a hero for getting captured. And then, I mean, we’ve seen all the disses since.”
The White House declined to comment on Jordan’s claims, but the alleged statement is significant, especially as, this past September, the senator’s widow, Cindy McCain, endorsed Trump’s rival, Democrat Joe Biden, in the 2020 election.
This glowing view of McCain mirrors what Trump told Larry King on CNN in 2008. “I know John McCain, and John McCain’s a great guy, a tremendous guy. I’ve known him for a long time,” the New Yorker said, according to Politico. “And I’m with him, and I’m with him based on the fact that I have great knowledge of John McCain.” He went on to publicly endorse McCain during the interview, adding, “I like him, I respect him.”
Twelve years on, that comment is a stark contrast to the negative things Trump has said about McCain in more recent years. In fact in July 2015, when he was vying for the Republican Party ticket, he dismissed the Vietnam vet as a “loser” for failing to win the 2008 election.
“He lost and let us down. I’ve never liked him as much after that,” Trump said at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, according to NPR. He also dismissed McCain’s military service. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” he said, referring to the Arizona senator’s time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1967 to 1973.
McCain was beaten so badly by the guards in Hanoi that for the rest of his life his arms were partially immobile and he couldn’t raise them above his head.
The bad blood between the two men continued even after McCain died of brain cancer in August 2018 at the age of 81. President Trump initially dragged his heels when it came to issuing the standard proclamation to lower flags at half-staff across all federal properties as a mark of respect, NPR reported. Although McCain died on a Saturday, by the Monday morning, the flag was back at full-staff at the White House.
Similarly, while former political rivals Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush spoke at the senator’s funeral, Trump – the sitting president – wasn’t even invited. Indeed, despite telling Jordan that he was McCain’s “good friend,” Trump was banned from the event. According to a September 2020 piece in The Atlantic, he even reportedly told senior White House staffers, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral.”
Even though Trump denied the story, McCain’s daughter, Meghan, tweeted about the pain the president’s comments about her father have caused her and her family. “No one is more acutely aware of how vile and disgusting Trump has been to my family, it is still hard to understand,” The View co-host wrote. “America knows who this man is…”
HollywoodLife has reached out to both Meghan and Cindy McCain for comment on this story, but we have yet to receive a response. However, Mrs. McCain made her feelings about President Trump very clear when she announced her support of for Joe Biden. Although the former vice president is a Democrat, he had a decades-long friendship with her Republican husband and fellow senator.
“My husband John lived by a code: country first. We are Republicans, yes, but Americans foremost,” she tweeted on Sept. 22. “There’s only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation, and that is @JoeBiden.” Mrs. McCain has since featured in a Biden campaign ad.
Jordan, who appeared in the 2009 and 2013 seasons of Celebrity Apprentice, once considered Trump a good friend. Today, however, she is disgusted by the way the president treated both McCain and Obama. “[To] see where he is now, you don’t show that you liked my guy,” she said, referring to the first Black president, whom Trump smeared with his persistent birtherism conspiracy theory. “You show you hate and despise and you were extremely jealous of Barack Obama and you cannot stop talking about him and thinking about him. And the way he turned on John McCain, that was pretty tasteless.”
“When Trump first was running for office and people started to really criticize him, I stayed silent for a long time,” said Jordan who claimed during an Oct. 13 episode of the podcast Behind The Velvet Rope that he tried to kiss her. Referring to that allegation, she added: “Because my experience, except the two times he tried it with me… [we] have been, for the most part, good. We were friends and I didn’t say anything negative about him.”
Jordan has a different point of view now. “Over the course of the past few years, my opinions changed because I learned more things about him that I didn’t know when I was friends with him,” she said. Referring to the five Black and Hispanic teens who were wrongly convicted of the 1989 rape of a White jogger in NYC’s Central Park, Jordan said: “Had I known when I was friends with him, that he took out an ad and a whole campaign to have the Central Park Five, the Exonerated Five, executed when they were teenagers, that were wrongly accused of rape; that would have been something. I wouldn’t be able to be friends [him after] with that.”
Jordan is staying busy these days hosting two successful shows on the streaming network, Fox Soul – Out Loud with Claudia Jordan and Cocktails With Queens. The latter show, which airs weekdays at 9pm ET, also features actresses Vivica A. Fox and LisaRaye McCoy and singer Syleena Johnson.
“I’m trying to get Kamala on the show,” Jordan said, referring to Biden’s 2020 running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris. “And talking to [political commentator] Bakari Sellers and some folks. I would love to have him on the show. I really want people to tune in to the show.”