Obama, Bush Lead Dignitaries To McCain’s Funeral

Former US Presidents Barack Obama and George Bush speak at Senator McCain’s funeral in Washington DC on Saturday. Credit: AFP

 

Former US Presidents, Barack Obama and George Bush, led dignitaries to bid the late American Senator John McCain farewell.

Both leaders praised McCain for making them “better”  and embodying the virtue of placing country over party, the stunning contrast between the unifying ceremony and an outcast Trump only highlighted the astonishing state of US politics.

President Donald Trump himself was notably absent — fleeing the capital to head to one of his golf courses in Virginia just as eulogies to McCain were being delivered.

Millions of Americans, friends and well-wishers tuned in to the nationally televised memorial attended by almost all of Washington’s past and present powerbrokers.

See photos below:

 

 

Bush, Obama Extol McCain’s Virtues At Washington Funeral

Honor Guards carry the casket of Senator John McCain out of the Washington National Cathedral for the funeral service for the late Senator John McCain, September 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/AFP

 

Two ex-presidents from opposing parties united Saturday in homage to late senator and American patriot John McCain, in a momentous farewell ceremony that also rebuked the politics of toxicity and division trafficked by Donald Trump.

As millions tuned in to the nationally televised memorial attended by almost all of Washington’s past and present powerbrokers, Trump himself was notably absent — fleeing the capital to head to one of his golf courses in Virginia just as eulogies to McCain were being delivered.

As Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama praised McCain for making them “better” leaders and embodying the virtue of placing country over party, the stunning contrast between the unifying ceremony and an outcast Trump only highlighted the astonishing state of US politics.

Hailing his friend as “an extraordinary man,” warrior and patriot who embodied what is best in America, Obama said McCain “made us better presidents — just as he made the Senate better, just as he made the country better.”

He was echoing similar sentiments expressed minutes earlier by Bush, who defeated McCain in a “hard fought” Republican primary battle in 2000, only to see that bitter rivalry melt away into a lasting friendship.

While Bush and Obama hail from different parties, their message Saturday was clear: US politics can and should rise to a higher level with the example set by John McCain.

McCain was conservative, to be sure, “but he did understand that some principles transcend politics, and some values transcend party,” Obama said.

“Our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult,” Obama said.

“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.”

McCain‘s final public ceremony before his private burial Sunday at the US Naval Academy in nearby Annapolis, Maryland highlighted the warrior politician’s call for healing.

Heavyweights from both parties gathered at the venerated cathedral, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, former vice presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney and former secretaries of state Madeline Albright, John Kerry and Henry Kissinger, who address the gathering and hailed McCain‘s “honor.”

The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were also present, along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Hollywood icon Warren Beatty.

Withering rebuke 

McCain, who died last Saturday at age 81, has been lionized over the past week of extraordinary and emotional memorials and tributes, including his congressional colleagues bestowing him the rare honor of lying in state in the US Capitol on Friday.

At the funeral, Meghan McCain delivered a tear-filled tribute to her father using the words of Trump’s campaign slogan as a withering rebuke of the president.

“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great,” she said, to extended applause.

Trump’s name was not mentioned during the ceremony, but Meghan McCain‘s references to him unmistakable.

“We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness — the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly,” she said of her father, criticizing “those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.”

Earlier Saturday McCain‘s flag-draped casket was taken by honor guard from the US Capitol and placed in a black hearse, which stopped at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to allow his widow Cindy McCain to lay a wreath honoring all of those who died in the conflict.

That the men who vanquished McCain in their presidential battles were asked to speak was seen as a testament to his commitment to looking beyond party and signaling that Americans, regardless of political affiliation, are rowing together in the same boat.

AFP

Trump Arrives At Golf Course As McCain’s Funeral Underway

An armored vehicle arrives with US President Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club September 1, 2018 in Sterling, Virginia. Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump on Saturday went to one of his golf courses as the final public ceremony honoring late US senator John McCain was underway in Washington.

The president’s motorcade arrived at Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun County, Virginia around 11:16 am (1516 GMT) while eulogies to McCain were being delivered at his funeral at Washington’s National Cathedral.

Earlier, McCain’s daughter Meghan had delivered a tearful address which pointedly took aim at the president’s campaign slogan.

“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great,” she said to applause from an audience that included Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law.

Trump meanwhile was seen wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap on Saturday morning.

McCain was one of Trump’s sharpest critics and made clear in one of his final wishes as he struggled with brain cancer that he did not want the president to attend his funeral.

Trump waited several days after McCain’s death to praise him directly and belatedly lowered flags to half-staff across the country only after bowing to pressure.

The roots of their feud go back to when Trump announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in June 2015, suggesting that many Mexican immigrants were criminals and “rapists.”

McCain denounced him for using language that “fired up the crazies,” while Trump said McCain was a “dummy” who had barely managed to graduate from the US Naval Academy.

He went on to attack McCain’s service in the military, saying of the onetime prisoner of war: “I like people that weren’t captured.”

AFP

Bush, Obama To Eulogise McCain At Final Farewell

 

 

Late US Senator John McCain will receive his final public sendoff Saturday in a nationally televised ceremony featuring eulogies from two former Presidents, but with current commander in chief Donald Trump conspicuously absent from the proceedings.

Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama will deliver remarks honoring their friend and former White House challenger, at a memorial service in Washington’s National Cathedral that McCain planned himself in recent months as he battled brain cancer.

That the men who vanquished McCain in their presidential battles were asked to speak is a testament to the former war prisoner’s commitment to looking beyond party and signalling that Americans, regardless of political affiliation, are rowing together in the same boat.

Amid today’s inflammatory political environment the message could serve as a soothing balm for a nation bruised by two years of divisive discourse.

And the absence of Trump, whose bitter feud with McCain has wrangled US politics during that time, will serve as a final rebuke of the president, highlighting the clash between a Republican elder statesman and the current president from his own party.

McCain’s last public event, before he is laid to rest Sunday in a private ceremony at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, comes a day after he was accorded the rare recognition of lying in state in the US Capitol.

While members of Congress honored one of their own in a touching ceremony that featured an address by Vice President Mike Pence, Trump was again not there.

Instead he holed up in the White House and remained uncharacteristically silent on Twitter during the ceremony, before flying to a political event in North Carolina later in the day.

McCain’s widow Cindy, his seven children and his 106-year-old mother Roberta McCain joined scores of members of Congress, state governors, diplomats and other dignitaries at the somber Rotunda ceremony.

Pence, in his tribute, told McCain’s family that “it is deeply humbling to stand before you today at the United States Capitol to commemorate the life and service of an American patriot.”

“The president asked me to be here, on behalf of a grateful nation, to pay a debt of honor and respect to a man who served our country throughout his life, in uniform and in public office.”

It was an awkward message to deliver from a president who has studiously refrained from praising McCain, either during his illness or since his death.

Their feud took root during Trump’s 2016 campaign when he questioned the notion McCain was a war hero — because he had been captured after his Navy fighter jet was shot down over Hanoi in 1967.

McCain pushed back in the following months, calling Trump’s behavior petty and “disgraceful,” and in one of his final acts in the Senate blocked the Republican effort to repeal Obama’s health care law known as Obamacare.

– Presidential dreams dashed –
McCain the aviator spent more than five years in a Vietnamese prison camp, returning home to launch a political career that saw him eventually run for president in 2000 but lose the nomination to Bush.

Eight years later, he won the nomination in a contest that seemed almost predestined — only to lose the election to Obama, who became America’s first black president.

Saturday’s ceremony could serve as a rehabilitation of sorts for Bush, who will be delivering one of his most high-profile addresses since leaving the White House nearly 10 years ago.

He has endured deep criticism for controversially leading the US into war in Iraq — an invasion that McCain steadfastly supported at first, but eventually grew to believe was a mistake.

For Obama, the moment will allow him to share his thoughts about a presidential campaign rival whose magnanimity in defeat only boosted his stature as an American statesman.

“Tonight more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama,” McCain said at the time.

“I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president.”

McCain’s Colleagues Pay Last Respect As Body Arrives In Washington

Former US Vice President Joe Biden wipes a tear while giving a tribute during memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church for US Senator John McCain on August 30, 2018, in Phoenix.
Matt YORK / POOL / AFP

 

Americans prepared Friday to honour the late national icon John McCain, whose remains were to lay in state in the US Capitol as part of a momentous sendoff for the warrior-turned-politician.

Hundreds of members of Congress, including his 99 Senate colleagues, are expected to attend the ceremony, a sombre Capitol Rotunda honour that has been accorded to just 30 Americans throughout the nation’s history.

McCain’s final visit to Washington, where he served in Congress for 35 years, will take place over two days.

It includes a memorial service Saturday during which former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — a Republican and Democrat who each ended McCain’s White House dreams — will deliver remarks.

The former aviator who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and returned home to launch a respected political career that saw him win the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, will be buried Sunday at the US Naval Academy in nearby Annapolis, Maryland.

On Friday just before 11:00 am (1500 GMT), his coffin will be escorted into the Rotunda and placed on a wooden platform known as a catafalque, first used in 1865 to bear the casket of assassinated president Abraham Lincoln.

“John McCain was a giant of our time — not just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday.

McCain “was a patriot and was in service to our country his entire life. We’re going to miss him,” tweeted Senator Bob Corker, who like McCain has been an occasional critic of President Donald Trump.

The funeral services for McCain, who for months planned his farewell before he died Saturday at age 81 after a yearlong battle with cancer, is seen by many as a thinly veiled rebuke of Trump, whose open disdain for McCain has alarmed many.

Their bitter feud took root during Trump’s 2016 campaign when he said McCain was not a war hero.

The billionaire leader was not invited to the funeral or burial, and he is not scheduled to appear Friday in the Rotunda, where McCain’s flag-draped coffin will be brought in by an honour guard.

Vice President Mike Pence will address the gathering instead, joining Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and National Security Advisor John Bolton in representing the administration.

McCain’s widow Cindy and seven children, along with his 106-year-old mother Roberta McCain, will be present, along with his staff, state governors, diplomats and other dignitaries.

‘Fairness, honesty, dignity’ 

McCain’s remains were flown by military aircraft to Washington on Thursday from Arizona, which he has represented in Congress since his first election in 1982.

Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden delivered a stirring eulogy of his friend at a memorial ceremony in Phoenix, describing Arizona’s adopted son as a “brother” and a “giant” whose belief in the soul of America helped give citizens their confidence and optimism.

Biden’s words appeared at times aimed at striking a stark contrast between his former Senate colleague’s integrity and conciliation and the state of political division that has been exacerbated under Trump.

Biden spoke of the values of “fairness, honesty, dignity, respect, giving hate no safe harbour, leaving no one behind and understanding that as Americans, we’re part of something much bigger than ourselves.”

Similar themes likely will be addressed when Pence, Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell deliver remarks in the Rotunda.

Members of the public will be welcome to pay their respects from 1:00 pm (1700 GMT).

AFP

‘Rock Bottom’: Anti-McCain Comments Spark Uproar

 

This file photo shows US Senator, John McCain (R-AZ), trailed by reporters in the Senate Subway on Capitol Hill September 18, 2017 in Washington, DC.  Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

 

Family and congressional colleagues pushed back Friday against attacks on cancer-stricken John McCain, including one by a White House aide who reportedly said the senator’s opposition to a presidential nominee did not matter because “he’s dying anyway.”

CNN and other media said that the offensive remark, after McCain came out against CIA director nominee Gina Haspel over her role in Bush-era enhanced interrogation techniques, came from a White House communications aide named Kelly Sadler.

CNN quoted a White House official as saying Sadler, speaking Thursday at a staff meeting, meant the comment as a joke but that it flopped.

Another extraordinary attack against McCain by a fellow military veteran and commentator also stunned much of Washington Thursday, when retired US Air Force lieutenant general Thomas McInerney said he knows torture works because it made McCain spill sensitive information to his captors during nearly six years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

“The fact is, with John McCain, it worked on John. That’s why they call him Songbird John,” McInerney said on Fox Business Network.

The attacks, remarkable for their bluntness, triggered swift reaction from across the political spectrum, with lawmakers demanding an apology from President Donald Trump himself.

“People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday,” said Democratic former vice president Joe Biden, who served with McCain for decades in the Senate.

“Given this White House’s trail of disrespect toward John and others, this staffer is not the exception to the rule; she is the epitome of it.”

Meghan McCain, a conservative commentator on ABC’s popular morning talk show “The View,” delivered an eloquent defense of her father, who is battling brain cancer at home in Arizona.

Her family, she said on the show, is “really strong” and “there’s so much more love and prayer and amazing energy being generated towards us than anything negative at all.”

She also had pointed words for the White House about Sadler.

“I don’t understand what kind of environment you’re working in when that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job,” she said.

Her father is “all about character and bipartisanship and something greater than yourself, and believing in this country,” Meghan McCain said, before adding a stinging message to the critics: “Nobody’s going to remember you.”

‘Speechless’

Reaction poured in from members of Congress in support of their colleague.

“I am left speechless and with a sense of horror about the insensitive, crass and cruel remarks by a White House aide reflecting the administration’s position on a heroic American’s courageous fight,” House Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee wrote.

“Is there any decency in this administration and where is the apology from @realDonaldTrump?”

House Republican Walter Jones branded the attacks “outrageous and unacceptable.”

Over at Fox Business, program host Charles Payne issued a personal apology to McCain and his family, saying he did not hear the remark as the network’s control room was speaking into his earpiece.

“I regret I did not catch this remark, as it should have been challenged,” Payne said.

“As a proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam Vet these words neither reflect my or the network’s feelings about Senator McCain, or his remarkable service and sacrifice to this country.”

McCain has been a vocal Trump critic.

Trump, for his part, once mocked McCain’s war service, saying during the presidential campaign that “I like people that weren’t captured.”

AFP

McCain Sinks Republican Effort To Repeal Obamacare

John McCain
Senator John McCain

United States Senator John McCain Friday announced his opposition to the latest Republican attempt to replace Barack Obama’s signature health care law, likely dooming the repeal effort.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said of the bill proposed by fellow Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy.

“I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,” the senator said in a statement.

In July, McCain made a dramatic return to Washington from Arizona after a brain cancer diagnosis to become one of three Republican senators who helped sink their party’s earlier efforts to replace Obamacare.

Republicans have pledged to repeal Obama’s health care reforms, but have struggled to secure enough support to do so amid fears that proposed alternatives would dramatically increase the number of Americans without health insurance.

AFP

Mccain Has Blood Clot Removed, To Recuperate In Arizona

U.S. Senator John McCain will remain in Arizona next week to recuperate from a medical procedure that removed a 2-inch blood clot above his left eye, his office announced in a statement on Saturday.

The U.S. Senate will delay its consideration of healthcare legislation while Senator McCain recuperates from surgery, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement on Saturday.

McCain’s absence cast doubt on whether the Senate would be able to pass the legislation to dismantle and replace Obamacare.
McConnell needs 50 “yes” votes for passage in a chamber the Republicans control by a 52-48 margin.

Repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law was a top campaign promise for President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress.

But two Republican senators have already declared their opposition to revised legislation unveiled on Thursday.

Former CNN Talkshow host Larry King now online with Hulu

Having the King of talk show off the screen for a while is something lots of people haven’t gotten used to due to power-charged interviews with individuals fans want to see.

But now, Larry King the former talk show host of Larry King Live on CNN is back on to do what he know how to do best but this time streaming online real-time on Hulu streaming channel but unfortunately it kick-started with fans in the United States only and the talk show has been named Larry King Now.

Airing four times a week from Monday to Tuesday the programme will feature King interviewing people as usual and the first interview of the first episode online had Seth MacFarlane – the creator of Family Guy and American Dad on the hot seat.

It is a 30-minute talk show that will have different guests and talking about guest being expected this week for Larry King Now are Meghan McCain and Matthew McConaughey.