US presidents past and present have joined world leaders in mourning Arizona senator, one-time presidential candidate and Vietnam war hero John McCain, praising him for a lifetime of service and accomplishments.
The 81-year-old died on Saturday afternoon at his ranch in Sedona, Arizona, following a year-long battle with aggressive brain cancer.
Political leaders across the country and around the world have extended their condolences to McCain’s grieving family, one of them being President Donald Trump, who once criticized his fellow Republican for being taken prisoner during the Vietnam War.
On Saturday evening Trump tweeted: ‘My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!’
Former President Barack Obama, who triumphed over John McCain in 2008, was one of the many world leaders mourning the Arizona senator’s passing on Saturday afternoon
Donald Trump tweeted his condolences to the grieving McCain family on Saturday evening
United Kingdom Prime Minister Teresa May paid tribute to McCain from across the pond, tweeting that he was a ‘great statesman who embodied the idea of service over self’
French President Emmanuel Macron likewise offered his condolences to McCain’s family
Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, who triumphed over McCain in 2008, also shared his sadness at the news.
In a statement, Obama said that despite their differences, he and the senator shared a ‘fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed’.
Obama said the pair ‘saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world’.
Another one of the six president’s McCain served under during his four decades in public office, George W Bush, called McCain a ‘man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order’ and a ‘friend whom I’ll deeply miss’.
President Bush, who defeated McCain for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, was among those expected to speak at McCain’s funeral.
In a statement, Obama said that despite their differences, he and McCain shared a ‘fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed’
Former president George W Bush called McCain a ‘man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order’ and a ‘friend whom I’ll deeply miss’ in a statement shared on Twitter
McCain is expected to be remembered at ceremonies in Arizona and Washington before being buried, probably this coming week, at the US Naval Academy Cemetery on a peninsula overlooking the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland.
Tributes to the Republican leader have also been pouring in from outside the US.
United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May hailed McCain as ‘a great statesman, who embodied the idea of service over self’, while her predecessor David Cameron said the world had ‘lost a great defender of liberty’.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar callled McCain ‘a wise and remarkable statesman, US ally of Ireland and a proud Scots Irishman who was a champion for immigration reform in the US Senate’.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted in English that McCain ‘was a true American hero. He devoted his entire life to his country’.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said McCain was ‘one of the great political personalities of our time’, adding that he was ‘a tireless fighter for a strong transatlantic alliance; his significance went well beyond his own country’.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said McCain’s support for the Jewish state ‘never wavered. It sprang from his belief in democracy and freedom’.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said McCain’s support for the Jewish state ‘never wavered. It sprang from his belief in democracy and freedom’
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar callled McCain ‘a wise and remarkable statesman’
Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the world had ‘lost a great defender of liberty’
Cameron is pictured with McCain at an event in Bournemouth, United Kingdom, in 2006
McCain was the son and grandson of admirals and followed them to the US Naval Academy.
A pilot, he was shot down over Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war for more than five years.
He went on to win a seat in the House of Representatives and in 1986, the Senate, where he served for the rest of his life.
Former vice president Joe Biden, who developed a friendship with McCain while they served together in the Senate, said the Arizona politician will ‘cast a long shadow’.
‘The spirit that drove him was never extinguished: we are here to commit ourselves to something bigger than ourselves,’ Biden said.
Former vice president Joe Biden, who developed a friendship with McCain while they served together in the Senate, said the Arizona politician will ‘cast a long shadow’
Biden posted his tribute to McCain on Twitter shortly after the news of his death was reported
The Senate’s top Democrat, New York’s Chuck Schumer, has said he wants to rename the Senate building that housed McCain’s suite of offices after him
Schumer tweeted: ‘The Senate, the United States, and the world are lesser places without John McCain. Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain, but so that generations remember him I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him’
The Senate’s top Democrat, New York’s Chuck Schumer, said he wants to rename the Senate building that housed McCain’s suite of offices after him.
‘As you go through life, you meet few truly great people. John McCain was one of them,’ Schumer said.
‘Maybe most of all, he was a truth teller – never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare.’
A black hearse, accompanied by a police motorcade, could be seen driving away from the ranch near Sedona where McCain spent his final weeks.
For 50 miles along Interstate 17 southbound, on every bridge and at every exit slip road, people watched the procession.
Hundreds, including many waving American flags, parked their cars and got out to watch.
Hundreds, including many waving American flags, went out to watch as a black hearse was escorted by a police motorcade from the McCain family ranch Saturday night
As the nation mourn’s McCain’s passing, President Trump has been criticized for how brief his remarks about the senator’s death were.
He has been panned by politicians on both sides of the aisle for failing to acknowledge the impact McCain has had on American political life, and his record as one of the nation’s most celebrated war heroes.
Insiders say Trump has been left off the list of people McCain requested to attend his funeral months before he died after being locked in a war-of-words with Trump since 2015.
Those close to the Republican Arizona senator reportedly started making arrangements for McCain’s funeral in May, nearly a year after he announced that he had been diagnosed with an aggressive and rare form of brain cancer.
The Times cited McCain’s ‘rocky relationship’ with the president as the reason Trump was not on the invite list.
McCain reportedly spent the last year of his life planning his own funeral, CNN reported Saturday night. Friends of the senator said he wanted the service held at three locations: Arizona, the National Cathedral in Washington and Annapolis, Maryland.
Sources said that McCain had requested that George W Bush and Barack Obama deliver the eulogies at his funeral.
Two family members reiterated to CNN on Saturday that Trump won’t be present at the service.
McCain deliberately left Trump off the invite list for the memorial service he and his family have been planning for months, according to sources familiar with the arrangements
The late Arizona senator slammed the president on Twitter last month, calling his performance at the Helsinki Summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘disappointing, yet not surprising’
Trump and McCain’s bad blood stems back to June 2015 when Trump announced he was running for president and called Mexican immigrants ‘rapists’ and drug runners during a speech.
McCain distanced himself from the future-president saying in an interview that he disagreed with Trump’s comment. Trump fired back by calling McCain ‘incompetent’ during a July 2015 rally at the Phoenix Convention Center.
The back and forth banter continued for the next two years, as Trump repeatedly launched public attacks – often times on Twitter – at McCain. In a 2016 tweet Trump slammed the senator as ‘foul mouthed’ and in a 2017 post he lashed out at McCain for voting against the Affordable Care Act.
‘3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!’ he wrote.
At one point during the two politician’s bitter feud, Trump mocked McCain’s record as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War saying that McCain was only labeled a hero ‘because he was captured’ and he liked ‘people that weren’t captured’.
For his part, McCain publicly criticized Trump on numerous occasions. In a July statement, McCain lashed out at the president after Trump said during a meeting in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin that he accepted Russia’s claim that that they did not meddle in the US presidential election.
McCain said of Trump’s comments: ‘No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant’.
Trump was spotted arriving at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, on Sunday morning less than 17 hours after news broke of McCain’s passing