A memorial service for senator and war hero John McCain was marked by the presence of three former presidents – and the absence of the current one.

Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama spoke about Senator McCain's belief in tolerance and democratic ideals while celebrating his patriotism. Bill Clinton was also present.

In contrast, according to Associated Press, Donald Trump was playing golf – and he tweeted several times as the service played out on TV channels cross the globe.

Mr McCain's family had asked Mr Trump not to attend after the president made an offensive statement regarding the senator's war history.

:: John McCain: A single-minded war hero and unquestionable patriot

Video: Meghan McCain mourns her father's passing
Video: Obama and George W Bush honour McCain at memorial

Responding to Mr McCain disagreeing with his conduct, President Trump had said that: "I like people who weren't captured."

As a US navy pilot, Mr McCain was shot down over Hanoi during the Vietnam War in 1967.

After suffering months in captivity, he refused to leave until all those who were captured were sent home. He spent more than five years as a prisoner of war.

President Bush described Senator McCain as "honourable, always recognising that his opponents were still patriots and human beings".

He said: "He loved freedom with the passion of a man who knew its absence.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos arrives for Senator McCain's memorial
Image: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos attended Senator McCain's memorial
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 1: (L-R) Former U.S. President George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, Lynne Cheney, and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore stand as the casket is brought in for the funeral service for U.S. Sen. John McCain at the National Cathedral on September 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. The late senator died August 25 at the age of 81 after a long battle with brain cancer. McCa
Image: The Clintons were also among the congregation

"He respected the dignity inherent in every life. A dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators.

"Perhaps above all, John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots."

President Obama said: "So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small, and mean, and petty – trafficking in bombast, and insult, and phoney controversies, and manufactured outrage.

"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."

Image: Presidents Obama and Bush gave eulogies at the ceremony
Mourners file past the casket of Senator McCain who lies in state in the Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol...
Image: Mourners file past the casket of Senator McCain, who lies in state in the Rotunda at the US Capitol
Cindy McCain (C) the widow of US Senator John McCain and her sons and daughters look on after a Military Honor Guard placed the casket of US Senator John McCain into a hearse at the end of his memorial service for at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, on September 1, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Image: Cindy McCain (centre), the widow of John McCain, and his daughter Meghan (centre-right)

Senator McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, seemed to explicitly criticise Mr Trump when describing the America her father loved.

"The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold. She is resourceful and confident and secure," said Ms McCain.

"She meets her responsibilities. She speaks quietly because she is strong. America does not boast because she has no need to."

A Military Honour Guard carries Senator McCain's coffin
Image: A military honour guard carried Senator McCain's coffin into the cathedral
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 31: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger touches the casket of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as he lies in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, on August 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. The late senator died August 25 at the age of 81 after a long battle with brain cancer. He will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, a rare honor bestowed on only 31 people in the past 166 years. Sen. McCain will be buried at his final resting place at the U.S. Naval Academy. (Photo by And
Image: Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger spoke of McCain's humanitarianism

Ms McCain declared to applause throughout the cathedral: "The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great."

Tributes to Mr McCain were also paid by Senator Joseph Lieberman, and Henry Kissinger, the national security adviser and secretary of state under President Richard Nixon.

More from John McCain

Also in attendance were members of NATO, of which Mr McCain was an ardent supporter – again in contrast to President Trump.

The billionaire founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, also attended the memorial, as did seven US military prisoners of war.

Original Article


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here