The late Sen. John McCain speaks at a rally outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. File photo: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is not backing down from his longstanding criticism of the late Sen. John McCain.

Trump declared Tuesday at the White House: "I was never a fan of John McCain, and I never will be."

Trump drew criticism over the weekend for tweeting insults about McCain, a Vietnam war hero, Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential candidate who died last year of brain cancer.

He repeated those attacks in the Oval Office, complaining about McCain's vote against repealing President Barack Obama's health care law.

Trump targeted McCain during the 2016 presidential campaign, saying the former prisoner-of-war was not a hero. 

Trump received a series of deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam, including one attained with a physician's letter stating that he suffered from bone spurs in his feet.

Associated Press