President Trump said at a press conference on Friday that he "never got along with John McCain" and "disagreed" with the late senator on a number of policies, but still "respected him."

The state of play: Trump was asked if he regrets calling McCain — who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam — a "loser" in 2015. Trump did not respond as to whether he regrets the statement.

The big picture: The reporter's question follows a Thursday report in The Atlantic, sourced anonymously, that describes instances in which Trump "repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members."

What he's saying: "I say what I say," Trump responded. "I never got along with John McCain. I wasn't a fan. I disagreed with many of his views."

  • "That doesn't mean I don't respect him. I respected him, but I really disagreed with him on a lot of things. And I think I was right, and I think time has proven me right."

Trump again denied The Atlantic's reporting at Friday's press briefing, calling the magazine "second-rate."

  • "We have all of the information and probably will release that information. But I think it is a shame when a second-rate magazine ... I don't read it ... can write things like that about somebody that has done so much for the military ... and get away with it..."

Flashback: This is not the first time that Trump has publicly said he "was never a fan of John McCain."

Go deeper

Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Election night in Trumpworld

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Chris Carlson-Pool/Getty Images

A luxe election-night watch party at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue is being planned for President Trump's donors, friends and advisers — but Trump's hand in it is minimal because he's "very superstitious" — people familiar with the plans tell Axios.

The big picture: This "mecca for all things MAGA," as one adviser described it, is one of three hubs where they say Trumpworld will watch returns. The others are the war room at campaign HQ in Rosslyn, Virginia, and the White House residence, where Trump and the first lady will gather close family and advisers before heading to the hotel later that night, the sources said.

Scoop: Trump's post-election execution list

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

If President Trump wins re-election, he'll move to immediately fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and also expects to replace CIA Director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, two people who've discussed these officials' fates with the president tell Axios.

The big picture: The list of planned replacements is much longer, but these are Trump's priorities, starting with Wray.

Zeta, now a Category 2 Hurricane, makes landfall on Louisiana coast

The probable path of Zeta, per the National Hurricane Center. Photo: NHC/NOAA

Zeta, classified as a "significant" Category 2 hurricane, made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana on Wednesday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday. The hurricane is producing 110-mph maximum sustained winds and stronger gusts. The core of Zeta — including its destructive eyewall — moved ashore near Cocodrie.