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POST TIME: 2 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Not Trump but Obama, Bush bid presidential farewell to McCain
UNB

Not Trump but Obama, Bush bid presidential farewell to McCain

John McCain is getting a presidential farewell, but not from the actual sitting president, reports UNB. At McCain's request, former Presidents Barack Obama, a Democrat, and George W. Bush, a Republican, are speaking about the six-term senator on Saturday at Washington National Cathedral. It is the last event in Washington, where McCain lived and worked over four decades, and part of McCain's five-day, cross-country funeral procession. He died Aug. 25 at age 81.

President Donald Trump was told to stay away, but he won't be far. The president is expected to remain in Washington this weekend. McCain's procession will come within a mile of the White House as it travels between the U.S. Capitol, where the casket was lying in state overnight, to the cathedral. It will pass the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where McCain's wife, Cindy, is expected to lay a wreath. McCain is a decorated veteran

who was held for more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He refused early release.

Trump obtained deferments for his college education and a foot ailment.

The memorial stop will provide another contrast with Trump in McCain's carefully designed funeral procession. But the speeches by the former presidents are expected to carry special weight.

McCain has long urged the Senate and the polarized nation to recognize the humanity even in bitter political opponents. McCain's request for speeches by the former presidents, to some, represents that ideal.

"We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe," McCain wrote in his farewell letter to the nation, read posthumously by a longtime aide. "We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been."

By all accounts, McCain ended up liking both Bush and Obama but was not especially close to either man.

"John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics," Obama said in a statement after McCain's death. "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."