Former United States Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush led tributes on Saturday at the memorial service for former presidential candidate and Senator John McCain. Obama’s eulogy echoed with criticism for the current president. Donald Trump, who has mocked McCain in the past, did not attend the event.
“So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage,” Obama said in his eulogy to the US senator, who died on August 25, The Guardian reported. “It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that.”
George W Bush said McCain “loved freedom with a passion”. “He respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators,” Bush said according to Reuters. “Perhaps above all, John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots.”
McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain also lashed out at Trump during the service. “We gather to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who’ll never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served,” she said.
Then, in a direct reference to Trump’s 2016 election campaign slogan, Meghan McCain said: “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.”
Reports said that Donald Trump was not invited to the funeral. He was allegedly at Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun County, Virginia, while the funeral was under way. His daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both White House advisers, attended the service.
The funeral was attended by several leaders, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who was an honorary pallbearer. McCain was laid to rest at the US Capitol, a rare distinction reserved for elected officials or military personnel, The Guardian reported.