John McCain, senator and former presidential candidate, dies at 81

Simon Moss
August 28, 2018

A private burial service next Sunday will conclude almost a week of events honoring the Navy aviator, prisoner of war, congressman, longtime senator and presidential contender.

As a presidential candidate, Trump - who did not serve in the military himself and avoided the draft through a series of deferments - attacked McCain's record of service and said the Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war is "not a war hero" because he was captured.

Mr. McCain's remains will lie in state at Arizona's capitol on Wednesday, before a public viewing Friday in the rotunda of the US Capitol - an honor reserved for the likes of John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and civil rights champion Rosa Parks.

Senator McCain will lie in state at the Arizona state Capitol where the public can pay its respects.

On Saturday, a mass of mourners will gather at the National Cathedral in Washington to attend McCain's memorial service.

A private funeral is planned for Sunday afternoon at the Naval Academy Chapel followed by a private burial at the academy cemetery.

The senator will be buried alongside his Naval Academy classmate and longtime friend Admiral Chuck Larson.

Mr Trump reacted quickly to the news on Saturday night (U.S. time), expressing his deepest sympathies to his loved ones.

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"Our hearts and prayers are going to the family of Senator John McCain. and we very much appreciate everything Senator McCain has done for our country", he told the religious leaders.

That's standard procedure when a member of the Senate passes away. But as the President spent Sunday at his Virginia golf course, the statement never went out, the source said. He had battled brain cancer.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called the US lawmaker a great friend of the South Asian country.

"If the president put out a flowery statement about John McCain's life, the media would criticize it and say it's not consistent with the other things he's said in the past, and it would become a story about the president", Short said during an appearance on CNN.

President Obama, who saw Sens. Trump initially tweeted condolences to McCain's family, but made no mention then of the Arizona Republican with whom he feuded for years. "McCain has done for our country".

The Washington Post reported that White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, Chief of Staff Kelly and other senior staff had urged a statement be released referring to McCain as a "hero" - but Mr. Trump opted for a terse, impersonal tweet instead.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Vietnam POW "showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or clichés, but the building blocks of an extraordinary life".

One of those longstanding friendships is with legendary actor and director Warren Beatty, who once spoke to The Atlantic a bit about his relationship with McCain. Under state law, the governor's appointee to serve until the next general election in 2020 must come from the same political party.

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