The New York Times said former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush have been asked to give eulogies at Sen. John McCain’s funeral, but President Donald Trump has been banned from attending the ceremony.
Two Republicans familiar with the funeral arrangements told the Times that, under initial plans, Vice President Pence has also been asked to attend.
Similar plans were reported earlier this year, the newspaper said.
Sen. John McCain, who died on Saturday at age 81, will lie in state in the Capital Rotunda in Washington, D.C., and receive a full dress funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral.
McCain, a “maverick” of the Republican Party and longtime giant of the Senate, garnered the respect of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle throughout his decades-long career.
Despite his absence from the Senate this year, McCain managed to leave his mark on Washington, criticising Trump on numerous occasions for his policies and his attacks on the media.
His death on Saturday has triggered a flood of tributes and even from U.S. President Donald Trump that he trenchantly opposed.
Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, have also paid tributes in memory of the senator.
McCain, 81, a Republican Senator representing Arizona at the congress since 1982, died after failing to battle brain cancer .
The family announced in a statement: “Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28 p.m. on August 25, 2018. With the Senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years”.
Trump, in a tweet on Saturday evening said: “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
The late Arizona Republican, had organised his funeral, and close associates had told the White House in May that he did not want Trump to be invited.
Instead, Vice President Mike Pence, who served with McCain in Congress, would be asked to attend the service, at the ceremony that would be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Pence, in a tweet on McCain’s death, said: “Karen and I send our deepest condolences to Cindy and the entire McCain family on the passing of Senator John McCain. We honour his lifetime of service to this nation in our military and in public life. …”
Speaker Paul Ryan also in a tweet said: “John McCain was a giant of our time – not just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life. He will always be listed among freedom’s most gallant and faithful servants”.
Obama, who ran against and defeated McCain in the 2008 presidential election, said in a statement that all Americans were in debt of the late senator.
“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics.
“But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed.
“We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. …,” Obama said.
Former President George W. Bush, who was also a political opponent of McCain during the 2000 Republican Party primary election, lauded his career serving the U.S., first in the military and war, and second in the U.S. Congress.
Bush said: “Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled.
“John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I’ll deeply miss….”
Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, said in a statement: “Senator John McCain believed that every citizen has a responsibility to make something of the freedoms given by our Constitution, and from his heroic service in the Navy to his 35 years in Congress, he lived by his creed every day.
“He was a skilled, tough politician, as well as a trusted colleague alongside whom Hillary was honoured to serve in the Senate. He frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country, and was never afraid to break the mould if it was the right thing to do.
“I will always be especially grateful for his leadership in our successful efforts to normalise relations with Vietnam. …”
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said: “John McCain was a man of honour, a true patriot in the best sense of the word. Americans will be forever grateful for his heroic military service and for his steadfast integrity as a member of the United States Senate….”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “Senator John McCain was an American patriot and hero whose sacrifices for his country, and lifetime of public service, were an inspiration to millions. Canadians join Americans tonight in celebrating his life and mourning his passing”.
Former Vice President Al Gore described “McCain was an American hero and a true patriot. I always admired and respected John from the opposite side of the aisle, because he thrived under pressure, and would work to find common ground, no matter how hard”.
Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate in 2008, said: “Today we lost an American original. Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs.
“John never took the easy path in life – and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self”.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a very close friend of McCain at the senate, said: “America and Freedom have lost one of her greatest champions. ….And I’ve lost one of my dearest friends and mentor”.
Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives also mourned McCain: “He was a patriotic, courageous hero who served his country above all. You will be missed, Senator McCain. May you Rest In Peace”.
Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted: “As you go through life, you meet few truly great people. John McCain was one of them. His dedication to his country and the military were unsurpassed, and maybe most of all, he was a truth teller – never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare”.
McCain decided to stop treatment for the brain cancer he had been battling for over a year, his family announced on Friday, precipitating a rare moment of bipartisan empathy for the Vietnam war hero.
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