“Intimates” of McCain’s have reportedly told the White House that their plan for his funeral is to have Vice President Mike Pence attend the service, to be held in Washington’s National Cathedral, but not President Trump.
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The senator has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer for almost a year. While McCain had hoped to return to the Senate, where he’s served since 1987, he has been unable to do so after cancer treatment and surgery for an intestinal infection last month.
Despite that, he’s finished work on a new book being released May 22, “The Restless Wave.” And he continued to advocate for a return to the days when partisans could disagree without demonizing each other.
Trump and McCain have had a rocky relationship since the now-president made a comment during the primary election indicating that the senator was only considered a war hero because he was captured during the Vietnam war. “I prefer people who weren’t captured,” Trump said at the time.
In addition, Trump blasted McCain just last year for his “no” vote that killed the Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate.
In audio excerpts of his book, McCain expressed his concern for the values of the United States.
In his memoir, McCain said Trump had appeared to mock the idea that the United States should promote its values abroad and slammed him for threatening to kill the spouses and children of terrorists during his campaign.
“His lack of empathy for refugees, innocent, persecuted, desperate men, women and children is disturbing. The way he speaks about them is appalling,” said McCain, who still chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee despite his long medical absence from Washington.
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“I’d like to see us recover our sense that we’re more alike than different,” McCain said in audio excerpts from his book reported by National Public Radio.
The Arizona senator hasn’t been seen in public since December, just before he was hospitalized for a viral infection at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Maryland. He returned home to Arizona to recover, but according to a news release put out by his office, was looking forward to returning to Washington in January. He was unable to return.
This isn’t the first time Trump has been excluded from the memorial services of America’s most visible political families. After the recent passing of former first lady Barbara Bush — wife of George H. W. Bush, and mother of George W. Bush — Melania Trump attended the service along with the president’s children, while Trump notably took in a weekend of golf instead.
The White House said the president would skip the funeral “to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family and friends attending the service.”
-With files from the Associated Press and Reuters.