US pays trib­ute to McCain, Trump ab­sent

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

A BIT­TERLY di­vided US Congress came to­gether yes­ter­day to com­mem­o­rate the late Se­na­tor John McCain, re­mem­ber­ing him as a te­na­cious fighter for his ideals who never lost his sense of hu­mour or his abil­ity to in­spire others.

Lead­ers from both par­ties gath­ered in the US Capi­tol Ro­tunda to hon­our McCain, on the third of five days of memo­rial cel­e­bra­tions in Ari­zona and Wash­ing­ton for the Viet­nam War hero and two-time Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was miss­ing, a re­sult of the an­i­mos­ity be­tween the two men that lin­gered even af­ter the Ari­zona se­na­tor’s death on Satur­day from brain can­cer.

Trump will also miss to­day’s ser­vice at the Wash­ing­ton Na­tional Cathe­dral, where former pres­i­dent Barack Obama, the Demo­crat who de­feated McCain in 2008, and former Repub­li­can pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush, who beat McCain in their party’s 2000 pres­i­den­tial pri­mary, will pay trib­ute.

Se­nate Repub­li­can leader Mitch McCon­nell, who of­ten fought with McCain over is­sues such as cam­paign fi­nance re­form and Obama’s health­care over­haul, praised him as a “gen­er­a­tional leader” in the Se­nate.

“He would fight tooth and nail for his vi­sion of the com­mon good. De­pend­ing on the is­sue, you knew John would ei­ther be your staunch­est ally or your most stub­born op­po­nent.

“At any mo­ment, he might be pre­par­ing an eloquent re­flec­tion on hu­man lib­erty or a dev­as­tat­ing joke, served up with his sig­na­ture cackle and that John McCain glint in his eye,” he said. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was some­times on the re­ceiv­ing end of McCain’s “dis­tinct brand of can­dour”.

“This is one of the bravest souls our na­tion has ever pro­duced.”

Vice-pres­i­dent Mike Pence de­scribed McCain as “an Amer­i­can pa­triot”, and said Trump had asked him to be there to pay his re­spects. Af­ter the cer­e­mony, the pub­lic will pass through the Ro­tunda for six hours to pay their re­spects by fil­ing past his cof­fin, which was brought into the Ro­tunda and placed atop a pine board catafalque orig­i­nally built in 1865 for pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln’s cas­ket.

The pall­bear­ers to­day will in­clude former vice-pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and lib­eral ac­tor and ac­tivist War­ren Beatty, former Se­na­tor Phil Gramm and ex-De­fence Sec­re­tary William Co­hen.

An­drew Harnik/POOL Via REUTERS

Se­na­tor Chuck Schumer, left, and Mitch McCon­nell watche as a wreath is placed on the cas­ket of Se­na­tor John McCain as he lies in state in the Ro­tunda of the US Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton, yes­ter­day. He will be buried to­day.

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