Tributes Pour in for Senator John McCain, But Not From Trump
Tributes and remembrances of the life of Senator John McCain continue to pour in as the U.S. prepares for a week of commemorations in three cities.
The 81-year-old McCain, who died Saturday after a lengthy battle with brain cancer, will lie in state in the Capitol of his home state of Arizona in Phoenix on Wednesday, and two days later in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, where he made his legislative mark as an outspoken, maverick Republican senator for 32 years.
After a memorial service Saturday at the Washington National Cathedral, with eulogies from former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, McCain will be buried Sunday at his college alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
World leaders and McCain's former colleagues in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, shared their favorite memories of McCain and extolled his status as a senior statesman on the world stage.They remembered his military service as a naval aviator, especially his valor in enduring beatings and torture during 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war at the hands of North Vietnamese captors at the height of the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
WATCH: John McCain Obit
US Senator John McCain, Statesman and War Hero, Dies
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But U.S. President Donald Trump, who frequently engaged in political taunts with McCain and three years ago said McCain was only deemed a hero because he was captured as a POW, refrained from specific tributes to McCain. Instead, Trump expressed condolences to his family on Twitter.
The White House, according to a Washington Post report Monday, prepared a statement extolling McCain's life and calling him a hero, but Trump rejected issuing it.
As he prepared for the end of his life, McCain said he did not want Trump at his funeral, instead favoring attendance by Vice President Mike Pence, with whom he served in Congress.
Flags at the White House were lowered to half staff over the weekend in McCain's honor, but back at full-staff on Monday.
McCain, even as he neared death, disparaged Trump's presidency, rebuking the U.S. leader for his seeming embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin's position at last month's Helsinki summit that Russia had not meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Trump, when he returned to Washington, altered his stance, but almost daily assails the investigation into the election interference.
"The damage inflicted by President Trump's naivete, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate," McCain said at the time. "But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake."
Instead of a Trump statement about McCain after his death, the White House posted tributes from numerous Trump officials praising McCain, who as the Republican nominee, lost the 2008 presidential election to Obama. The tributes singled out McCain's military service and heroism as a POW and his independence as a political leader.
All five living former U.S. presidents issued statements praising McCain.
Outside the United States, world leaders lauded McCain's role and presence abroad.
"John McCain was a true American hero," said French President Emmanuel Macron. "He devoted his entire life to his country. His voice will be missed. Our respectful thoughts go to his beloved ones."
British Prime Minister Theresa May said McCain "embodied the idea of service over self."
McCain for years promoted closer ties between the United States and Vietnam, which imprisoned him.
On Monday, Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh wrote in a condolence book at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.
"It was he who took the lead in significantly healing the wounds of war and normalizing and promoting the comprehensive Vietnam-U.S. partnership," he said.
A monument to McCain on the shores of the Hanoi lake where he was captured after his plane was shot down in 1967 has turned into a de facto shrine as news of his death reached Vietnam. Flowers, incense, flags and other tributes to McCain have been laid there.