John McCain wanted Obama and Bush to speak at his funeral, but Trump's not invited

  • President Donald Trump is not invited to Sen. John McCain’s funeral.
  • McCain reportedly said before he died he did not want Trump at the service, which much of Washington is expected to attend.
  • The two most recent presidents and McCain’s former election opponents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have been asked to speak at the service at Washington National Cathedral.
  • McCain’s death prompted an outpouring of praise from Washington, and his funeral proceedings include the rare honour of lying in state at the US Capitol.

Americans from Arizona to Washington, DC, will have the chance to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain at multiple memorials honouring the six-term senator and war hero who died from brain cancer on Saturday at the age of 81.

But President Donald Trump will most likely not be among the attendees.

The New York Times reported in May that Trump would not be invited to McCain’s funeral. Two White House officials confirmed to The Associated Press that the president was asked not to attend.

The two feuded for years. The son and grandson of Navy admirals, McCain served in the US Navy for 22 years, 5 1/2 of which he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump mocked McCain’s military service.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in July 2015. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

McCain issued some blistering statements condemning Trump’s behaviour, including in October 2016 after the 2005 tape of Trump making lewd comments about women emerged, as well as in July after Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a summit that McCain called “disgraceful.”

As president, Trump continued to throw subtle jabs at McCain after the Arizona senator voiced his opposition on matters of foreign policy, healthcare, and immigration.

McCain’s death has prompted an outpouring of praise for his life and career from Washington heavyweights. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer even called for renaming the Russell Senate Office Building in McCain’s honour.

Trump tweeted: “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

Trump rejected a statement from his aides praising McCain, saying he wanted to post his own statement on Twitter instead, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. The president also didn’t initially issue a proclamation to keep US flags at half-staff& and the White House’s returned to full staff on Monday morning.

The flags were again lowered to half-mast Monday afternoon as Trump issued a proclamation that they would stay that way until McCain’s burial on Sunday.

Trump also announced he asked chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of Defence James Mattis, and national security adviser John Bolton to attend the funeral ceremony on behalf of the administration.

McCain’s funeral arrangements

After three decades in Congress, McCain will lie in state, in the US Capitol’s rotunda, his colleagues announced, making him the 33rd person and 13th senator to receive the rare honour.

The public will have opportunities to pay their respects in Phoenix and DC. There will be two separate services – the one in Phoenix will have some public seating, but the one in DC will be by invitation only.

McCain’s memorials include:

  • Wednesday, August 29

    • Lying in state at the Arizona State Capitol
    • Ceremony starts at 10 a.m. local time
    • Open to the public starting at 2 p.m.
    • Livestream will be available
  • Thursday, August 30

    • Service at the North Phoenix Baptist Church
    • Starts at 10 a.m. local time
    • Limited public seating by request
    • Livestream available
  • Friday, August 31

    • Lying in state at the US Capitol
    • Ceremony starts at 11 a.m. ET
    • Open to the public 2-8 p.m.
    • Livestream available
  • Saturday, September 1

    • Service at Washington National Cathedral
    • Private event by invitation only
    • Starts at 10 a.m. ET
    • Livestream available

Though Trump wasn’t invited to McCain’s funeral services,Vice President Mike Pence will attend, along with scores of politicians, members of the military, and other Washington heavyweights. Trump said in his statement Monday that he asked Pence to speak at the ceremony on Friday.

McCain will be buried at his alma mater, the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, next to his best friend, Adm. Chuck Larson.

George W. Bush and Obama were asked to speak

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the two men to whom McCain lost his presidential bids, will deliver eulogies at the National Cathedral service on Saturday, CBS News confirmed.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that McCain’s choice to include his former running opponents was a significant reach across the political divide that represents McCain’s style.

“These were bitter contests, both of them,” Flake said. “To ask them to speak at your funeral and for them to be honored at the opportunity, that tells you all you need to know.”

Remembering the life and legacy of John McCain:

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