Obama, Bush mourn former rival McCain at Washington service

01 September, 2018, 20:30 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • The Politics of McCain’s Passing

Washington luminaries, former presidents and the family of John McCain gathered Saturday at Washington National Cathedral to honor and remember the late senator in a grand display of pomp and unity in the nation's capital.

After his body arrived at the cathedral, McCain's daughter Meghan McCain opened the memorial service with a tearful and impassioned tribute to him.

At Mr McCain's request, two former presidents - Democrat Barack Obama and Republican George Bush - are expected to speak during the service.

She said to applause, "The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great".

As he did so, top members of his administration including his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton were present at the solemn cathedral service.

"John was above all, a man with a code", he said.

Bush said whatever rivalry he had with Sen.

"John liked being unpredictable", Obama said during his remarks.

"I got to enjoy one of life's great gifts", Bush said. There's also former Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, FedEx founder Fred Smith and billionaire investor Ronald Perelman. Several current and former senators were also on tap as pallbearers for McCain. Thousands of citizens paid respect as he lay in state at the Arizona Capitol.


Members of the military slowly carried McCain's coffin into the cathedral, past friends and loved ones who have counted among the top power players in USA politics for decades.

He died on August 25 at his ranch near Sedona, Arizona after a yearlong battle with an aggressive form brain cancer.

Held as a prisoner until 1973, McCain was tortured by his North Vietnamese captors in a jail that Americans dubbed the "Hanoi Hilton".

McCain denounced him for using language that "fired up the crazies", while Trump said McCain was a "dummy" who had barely managed to graduate from the US Naval Academy.

John McCain was the son and grandson of admirals and followed them to the Naval Academy.

He went on to attack McCain's service in the military, saying of the onetime prisoner of war: "I like people that weren't captured". He refused to be released without his men.

CNN has previously reported that McCain did not want President Donald Trump to attend his funeral and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election, was not invited to any of the memorial services.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis greeted the McCain family on Thursday night when the late senator's casket was flown into Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

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