Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, More Pay Tribute to the Late John McCain

John McCain
John McCain Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden are among those paying tribute to Senator John McCain, who died on Saturday, August 25, after battling brain cancer.

The former reality TV star tweeted, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

Trump’s message was met with critical comments as the businessman had previously disrespected the decorated Vietnam veteran. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said of the former POW in 2015. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

McCain, a former Navy pilot, spent more than five years in the North Vietnamese prison known as the Hanoi Hilton, where he was repeatedly tortured. Trump, on the other hand, received four student deferments from military service between 1964 and 1968 and didn’t serve in Vietnam.

The Apprentice host’s swipes at McCain continued once he was president, with Trump slamming McCain’s 2017 health care vote. He also did not mention the former presidential candidate at a signing ceremony earlier this month for a defense spending bill named the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act.

Former president Obama, who according to CNN will deliver a eulogy at McCain’s funeral at the late senator’s request, posted a heartfelt tribute on Twitter.

“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,” Obama said in a statement. “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. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible — and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way. Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.”

Palin, who was McCain’s vice presidential running mate in the 2008 presidential election, tweeted, “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.”

Former vice president Biden, who was a close friend of McCain’s tweeted, “John McCain was many things — a proud graduate of the Naval Academy, a Senate colleague, a political opponent. But, to me, more than anything, John was a friend. He will be missed dearly.”

“John McCain’s life is proof that some truths are timeless. Character. Courage. Integrity. Honor. A life lived embodying those truths casts a long, long shadow. John McCain will cast a long shadow. His impact on American hasn’t ended. Not even close. It will go on for many many years to come,” Biden — whose son Beau died of glioblastoma, the same cancer that McCain had — said in a statement. “As a POW, John endured the worst of what human beings can do to one another. In politics, he fell short of his greatest ambition. At the end of his life he faced a cruel and relentless disease. And yet through it all he never lost sight of what he believed most: Country First. And the spirit that drove him was never extinguished: we are here to commit ourselves to something bigger than ourselves.”

“America will miss John McCain,” he continued. “The world will miss John McCain. And I will miss him dearly. On behalf of myself, Jill, and the entire Biden family, our sincerest condolences go out to Cindy, Doug, Andy, Sidney, Meghan, Jack, Jimmy, Bridget, and the entire McCain family.”

Former president Bill Clinton and his wife, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, also released a statement on Saturday night.

“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,” the former first couple said. “He was a skilled, tough politician, as well as a trusted colleague alongside whom Hillary was honored 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 mold if it was the right thing to do. I will always be especially grateful for his leadership in our successful efforts to normalize relations with Vietnam. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Cindy, his mother, Roberta, his children, and his entire family.”

Former president Jimmy Carter also praised the Arizona senator in a statement on Saturday.

“John McCain was a man of honor, a true patriot in the best sense of the word,” Carter said. “Americans will be forever grateful for his heroic military service and for his steadfast integrity as a member of the United States Senate. Rosalynn and I extend our sincere condolences to Senator McCain’s family and to the people of Arizona whom he represented so forthrightly for so many years.”

Former president George W. Bush, who McCain requested also deliver a eulogy at his funeral, posted a pic with the senator on Instagram and wrote, “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. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies to Cindy and the entire McCain family, and our thanks to God for the life of John McCain.”

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