Accessibility links

Breaking News

Bush, Obama To Speak At McCain's Funeral

Flowers and personal items outside Senator John McCain's office in Phoenix as people pay their respects to the late Arizona senator.

John McCain, the U.S. senator and war hero who died of brain cancer on August 25, will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on August 31 followed by a memorial service the next day at the National Cathedral, officials say.

His office said he will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in nearby Annapolis, Maryland, on September 2 following a private memorial service at the academy chapel.

News reports said that two former presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, would speak at his funeral.

President Donald Trump, however, will not. Citing family friends, CNN reported that McCain told his family he did not want Trump to attend his funeral.

Trump and McCain had a tense relationship despite being in the same political party.

Among the criticisms of Trump that McCain was most vocal about was Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders McCain called foreign "tyrants."

After Trump met Putin in Helsinki in July, McCain castigated Trump, calling their joint news conference "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."

Trump offered a brief Twitter statement after McCain’s death.

“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you,” he said in a tweet.

Other U.S. and international leaders, however, were more effusive in their praise for the son and grandson of U.S. Navy admirals. McCain endured almost six years of torture and captivity in a North Vietnam prison after his plane was shot down in 1967 on a mission during the long U.S. war.

Obama, who defeated the Republican senator in the 2008 presidential election, said in a statement from himself and his wife, Michelle, that "we are all in his debt."

"John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics," the statement said.

"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."

Prior to the ceremonies in Washington, McCain will lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol Rotunda on August 29. A memorial service will be held at the North Phoenix Baptist Church.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.