MCCAIN

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gen­eros­ity you have shown us dur­ing this past year. Thank you for all your con­tin­ued sup­port and prayers. We could not have made it this far with­out you – you’ve given us strength to carry on,” his daugh­ter Meghan McCain, a co-host of ABC’s “The View,” wrote Fri­day on Twit­ter.

John McCain took his last vote in the Se­nate in De­cem­ber, just be­fore a sud­den hospi­tal­iza­tion and weeks af­ter he had start­ing be­come no­tice­ably more frail. But even in absence, McCain hardly with­drew from the pub­lic sphere, de­liv­er­ing oc­ca­sional but sting­ing re­bukes of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump – a leader who, dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, had mocked McCain’s ser­vice as a naval avi­a­tor and then went on to attack McCain’s 2017 Se­nate vote that tanked a Trump­backed bill to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Trump and the White House had no com­ment Fri­day.

In his fi­nal and per­haps most damn­ing broad­side, McCain lam­basted Trump’s July news con­fer­ence along­side Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in Helsinki – where Trump seemed to put more cre­dence in Putin’s de­nials than U.S. in­tel­li­gence find­ings that Rus­sia in­ter­fered in the 2016 elec­tion – as “one of the most dis­grace­ful per­for­mances by an Amer­i­can pres­i­dent in mem­ory.”

“No prior pres­i­dent has ever abased him­self more ab­jectly be­fore a tyrant,” McCain, the chair­man of the Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, said in a state­ment. “Not only did Pres­i­dent Trump fail to speak the truth about an ad­ver­sary; but speak­ing for Amer­ica to the world, our pres­i­dent failed to de­fend all that makes us who we are – a repub­lic of free peo­ple ded­i­cated to the cause of lib­erty at home and abroad.”

While McCain made peace with Pres­i­dents Ge­orge W. Bush and Barack Obama, his fi­nal days are un­likely to in­clude any such rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with Trump.

“For all our dis­agree­ments I never doubted Pres­i­dent Obama shared the seventy-five-year bi­par­ti­san con­sen­sus that Amer­i­can lead­er­ship of the free world was a moral obli­ga­tion and a prac­ti­cal ne­ces­sity,” McCain wrote in his book “The Rest­less Wave.” “I’m not sure what to make of Pres­i­dent Trump’s con­vic­tions.”

McCain’s long-stand­ing mav­er­ick streak – and his feud with Trump – have chipped away at his sup­port among one group: con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­cans.

A Fox News Chan­nel poll re­leased this week found that McCain had a 52 per­cent fa­vor­able rat­ing na­tion­ally, con­sid­er­ably higher than any sit­ting con­gres­sional leader. But more Repub­li­cans view him un­fa­vor­ably than fa­vor­ably, 48 per­cent to 41 per­cent, while Democrats rated him fa­vor­ably by a 2-to-1 mar­gin.

The bit­ter­ness from McCain’s health care vote – as well as his mod­er­ate po­si­tions on im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy and other con­ser­va­tive pri­or­i­ties – has lin­gered in Ari­zona Repub­li­can pol­i­tics. His 2016 pri­mary op­po­nent, for­mer state Sen. Kelli Ward, called on him to re­sign af­ter his di­ag­no­sis was made pub­lic last year, and on Fri­day she again crit­i­cized him.

“Ob­vi­ously our thoughts and prayers are with him,” she said. “It’s un­for­tu­nate that he hasn’t been able to be in Wash­ing­ton. He’s missed close to 200 votes.”

Among those pay­ing trib­ute Fri­day was Ari­zona Gov. Doug Ducey, who called McCain an “Amer­i­can hero, al­ways putting coun­try be­fore self.”

It would fall to Ducey to fill any Se­nate va­cancy.

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