John McCain's daughter opened his memorial service by claiming her father's inheritance as a direct challenge to President Donald Trump. He set a tone resounding the senator's fighting spirit, while former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush praised him today in Washington's National Cathedral.
Former Presidents Bush and Obama, both challenged by Mr. McCain in their bids for the White House, draw on the Senator's legacy at home and abroad to talk about the nation's values in the remarks that it is sometimes a clear disapproval. seemed like President Trump and his brand politics.
Mr. Obama spoke of the lengthy conversations that he and Mr. McCain had personally had in the Oval Office and the senator's view that the safety and influence of America did not stem from "our ability to bend others to our will", but universal values of the rule of law and human rights.
Obama spoke today at a memorial service for the late senator of Arizona today at the Washington National Cathedral.
Source: Associated Press
"So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse may seem small and mean and insignificant, followed by bombast and insulting and false controversies and indignation," Obama said in a different, non-disguised nod to Mr. Trump. "It's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but is actually born of fear, John called us to be bigger than that, he called us to be better than that."
Bush said that one of the great gifts in his life was friendship with his former rival in the White House. He said that in later years they remembered their political battles as former football players in the big game.
But mostly Bush remembered being a champion for the & # 39; forgotten people & # 39; at home and abroad, whose legacy even in times of doubt the strength of America as more than a physical place, but as a 'carrier of human ambitions & # 39; will serve. "
"John's voice always comes across our shoulder like a whisper – we're better than this, America is better than this," Bush said.
Bush, a Republican and Obama, a Democrat, spoke to Mr. McCain during the service.
Mr. Trump was not on hand before the ceremony, after McCain's family had made it clear that he had not been invited.
But Meghan McCain made Mr. Trump part of the memorial in a different way, and addressed the criticism of the president in her eulogy.
"We are gathering here to mourn the passing of American greatness-the real, not cheap rhetoric of men who will never approach the sacrifice he so desperately gave, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served, "she said, her voice first choking away the tears and then turned to anger.
Later she said applause: "The American of John McCain does not have to be made big again because America was always great."
In another clear fight with Mr. Trump, she said that some blamed her father for being a big fire burning brightly & # 39; and what he revealed about their own characters. Those critics, she said, still have the opportunity to match her father's legacy.
Those who met this morning to praise the six-year-old senator were three former presidents, dozens of members of Congress, current and former world leaders and family and friends. Among those in the first row were Barack and Michelle Obama, George and Laura Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Dick Cheney and Al Gore.
Mr. McCain's column arrived from the Capitol, where he was able to go through the night and the procession stopped at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where McCain's wife, Cindy, placed a wreath. His box, draped in a flag, was accompanied by soldiers who covered the stairs of the cathedral under the gray sky.
It was the last public event in Washington, where McCain lived and worked for four decades and was part of the five-day funeral procession of Mr. McCain. He died on August 25 at the age of 81.
"His death seems to remind the American people that these values make us a great nation, not the tribal participation and personal assault policies that have recently characterized our lives," said former Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an old friend and fellow world traveler who McCain said. ever considered his vice-presidential running mate.
"The celebration of this week of life and the values and patriotism of this hero, I think, have taken our country above all else," he said. "It is in a way the last great gift that John McCain has given America."
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump left the White House in the presidential motorcade shortly after 10:30, while the service was underway, heading for his Virginia golf course.
Two of his assistants, the chief of the White House, John Kelly, and the Defense Secretary James Mattis, flanked Cindy McCain when they placed the wreath near the monument and came to the service. Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner were also present.
McCain was a decorated veteran who had been detained as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years. He refused early release.
Mr. Trump was postponed for his college education and a foot disorder.
McCain has long urged the Senate and the polarized nation to recognize humanity, even with bitter political opponents. Mr. McCain's request for speeches from the former presidents, for some, represents that ideal.
"We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalry that has sowed resentment and hatred and violence in every corner of the world," McCain wrote in his farewell letter to the nation, posthumously reading by an old assistant.
"We weaken if we hide behind walls, instead of breaking them down, if we doubt the strength of our ideals, instead of trusting that they are the great force for change they have always been."
In all respects, Mr. McCain liked both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, but he was not particularly close to either. Bush gave Mr. McCain a decisive defeat in the race for the GOP presidential election in 2000. Obama defeated Mr. McCain eight years later in the general election.
The service and dedication of McCain to work on the other side of the aisle – even if he sometimes enraged his opponents – was an important theme of yesterday's ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.
Of those who spoke during yesterday's ceremony, the co-republican Mitch McConnell probably had the greatest significance of the McCain experience. The two had served together in the Senate since the McCain elections in 1986.
McCain will be buried tomorrow at his alma mater, the US Naval Academy, next to his best friend in the class of 1958, Admiral Chuck Larson.
"Back", McCain wrote on the last page of his recent memoirs, "where it started".