WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bitterly divided U.S. Congress got here collectively on Friday to commemorate the late Senator John McCain, remembering him as a tenacious fighter for his beliefs who by no means misplaced his humorousness or his capacity to encourage others.
Individuals await the arrival of the casket of U.S. Senator John McCain within the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, U.S., August 31, 2018. Morry Gash/Pool through REUTERS
Leaders from each events gathered within the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Friday to honor McCain on the third of 5 days of memorial celebrations in Arizona and Washington for the Vietnam Warfare hero and two-time Republican presidential candidate.
President Donald Trump was lacking from the ceremony, a results of the animosity between the 2 males that lingered even after the Arizona senator’s demise on Saturday from mind most cancers.
Trump can even miss Saturday’s service on the Washington Nationwide Cathedral, the place former President Barack Obama, the Democrat who defeated McCain in 2008, and Republican President George W. Bush, who beat McCain within the 2000 Republican presidential major, can pay tribute to McCain.
Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell, who typically fought with McCain over points corresponding to marketing campaign finance reform and Obama’s healthcare overhaul, praised him as a “generational chief” within the Senate.
“He would battle tooth and nail for his imaginative and prescient of the widespread good. Relying on the problem, you knew John would both be your staunchest ally or your most cussed opponent,” McConnell mentioned.
“At any second, he is likely to be getting ready an eloquent reflection on human liberty or a devastating joke, served up along with his signature cackle and that John McCain glint in his eye,” he mentioned.
Friday’s occasions within the Capitol additionally will function remarks by fellow Republicans Vice President Mike Pence and Home of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, marking McCain’s 35-year profession in Congress.
After the ceremony, the general public will move by the Rotunda for six hours to pay their respects to McCain by submitting previous his coffin, which was introduced into the Rotunda and positioned atop a pine board catafalque initially constructed in 1865 for President Abraham Lincoln’s casket.
Trump will journey to certainly one of his non-public golf golf equipment on Friday for a marketing campaign fundraiser.
Sitting American presidents historically “function a supply of solace and luxury” for the nation at occasions of loss and tragedy, Princeton College historian Julian Zelizer mentioned.
However the Trump-McCain relationship left little room for that.
In 2015, not lengthy after Trump kicked off his presidential marketing campaign, McCain condemned his hard-line rhetoric on unlawful immigration, accusing Trump of “firing up the crazies.”
Trump hit again, saying of McCain’s 5-1/2 years as a prisoner of battle in Vietnam: “He was a battle hero as a result of he was captured. I like individuals who weren’t captured.” Trump acquired 5 deferments that received him out of navy service.
Extra lately, McCain accused Trump of kowtowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a July summit in Helsinki. It was, McCain mentioned, “one of the vital disgraceful performances by an American president in reminiscence.”
Trump in flip delayed issuing any assertion after McCain’s demise. At one level, the U.S. flag atop the White Home that had been at half-staff was raised again up, then lowered once more after Trump drew hearth from Congress and veterans.
“The president’s actions within the first day of (McCain’s) demise have been so petty,” Zelizer mentioned.
Extra broadly, Zelizer famous that many Republicans, together with some in Arizona, had grown pissed off with McCain’s reasonable stances on some points, reflecting the altering nature of the Republican Celebration that Trump has seized upon.
Regardless of these tensions, most leaders from each events in coming days will present they will rise above the political fray to acknowledge the passing of a revered colleague.
McCain was concerned in planning the occasions round his funeral. He made it clear to household and buddies that he wished Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden, Bush and Obama to talk, however that Trump was not welcome.
The pallbearers at Saturday’s cathedral service will embody Biden and liberal actor and activist Warren Beatty, alongside former Senator Phil Gramm and ex-Protection Secretary William Cohen, each Republicans.
Reporting by Richard Cowan; Writing by John Whitesides; Enhancing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Cynthia Osterman