Trump offers sympathies to McCain’s family as tributes pour in from Congress
President Trump offered his sympathies Saturday night to the family of Sen. John McCain, who died of brain cancer at age 81.
Mr. Trump, who clashed often with the Arizona Republican, said on Twitter, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
The two men had a contentious relationship, with the president often criticizing Mr. McCain for providing the key vote that prevented Republicans and the White House from unraveling Obamacare in 2017.
Congressional colleagues of Mr. McCain responded to his death Saturday night with an outpouring of praise for him as an American hero.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was “a deeply sad day for the Senate and for our nation.”
“In an era filled with cynicism about national unity and public service, John McCain’s life shone as a bright example,” Mr. McConnel said. “He showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or clichs, but the building blocks of an extraordinary American life.”
He added, “It’s an understatement to say the Senate will not be the same without our friend John. The nation mourns the loss of a great American patriot, a statesman who put his country first and enriched this institution through many years of service.”
Mr. McCain died at age 81 after a long battle with brain cancer.
Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat, called Mr. McCain “my friend and one of my heroes.”
“He devoted his life to duty, honor and country. He shall always be a role model for me,” Mr. Nelson said.
Former President Barack Obama, who defeated Mr. McCain for the presidency in 2008, said in a statement, “John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. 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.”
“We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world,” Mr. Obama said. “We saw this country as a place where anything is possible and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way.”
Mr. Obama concluded, “Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden said Mr. McCain embodied character, courage, integrity and honor.
“A life lived embodying those truths casts a long, long shadow. John McCain will cast a long shadow. His impact on America hasn’t ended. Not even close. It will go on for many years to come,” Mr. Biden said.
“At the end of his life, he faced a cruel and relentless disease. And yet through it all, he never lost sight of what he believed most: Country First. And the spirit that drove him was never extinguished: we are here to commit ourselves to something bigger than ourselves,” he said.
“America will miss John McCain. The world will miss John McCain. And I will miss him dearly.”
Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Twitter, “Condolences and prayers to the McCain Family.
“Gratitude and respect for John McCain, who served the nation honorably and courageously as a Navy Captain, POW in Vietnam, and US Senator,” she tweeted. “May he Rest In Peace.”
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, said the nation has lost “a decorated war hero and statesman.”“John McCain was a giant of our timenot just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life,” Mr. Ryan said. “John put principle before politics. He put country before self. He was one of the most courageous men of the century. He will always be listed among freedom’s most gallant and faithful servants. Our hearts are with his wife, Cindy, his children, and his grandchildren. This Congress, this country mourn with them.”
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said the country has “lost a man who steadfastly represented the best ideals of our country.”
“As a Naval officer and defiant prisoner of war, John McCain stood with his brothers-in-arms until they returned home together,” Mr. Mattis said. “Passionately committed to our country, Senator McCain always put service to the nation before self. He recognized that for our experiment in democracy to long endure, people of action and passion must serve. In this he represented what he believed, that a shared purpose does not claim our identityon the contrary, it enlarges your sense of self.
He added, “On behalf of all of the men and women of the Department of Defense, we will remain forever grateful for the life, the passion, and the example of Senator John McCain. Our sympathy and kindest wishes are with Cindy and his family.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called Mr. McCain “a man who never sought accolades. A patriot who fought every day for American freedom and dignity. A warrior of strength, a patriot of heart, and a man of conviction.”
“There will never be another John McCain. May he rest in peace,” she tweeted.
Fox News host Sean Hannity said on Twitter, “While we did have political differences, I know how much he loved and served his country, and am glad I got to know him and support him in ’08.”
First lady Melania Trump tweeted, “Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the McCain Family. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to the nation.”
The Trump campaign also offered praise for Mr. McCain. Michael Glassner, the campaign’s chief operating officer, said in a statement: All of us at the Trump Campaign offer our sincere condolences to the family of Senator John McCain following his passing this evening. We encourage all Americans to take the opportunity to remember Senator McCain and his family in their prayers on this sad occasion.”