The death of Sen. John McCain on Saturday prompted an outpouring of tributes to the Vietnam War hero and independent-minded lawmaker who has been a dominant figure for decades.
Past presidents, former political rivals and McCain’s Senate colleagues, Republicans and Democrats hailed the late senator.
“John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order,” said former president George W. Bush.
“Senator John McCain believed that every citizen has a responsibility to make something of the freedoms given by our Constitution, and from his heroic service in the Navy to his 35 years in Congress, he lived by his creed every day,” said former president Bill Clinton.
McCain’s rival for the Republican nomination in the 2008 presidential race, Mitt Romney, said, “John McCain defined a life of honor.”
Former president Barack Obama, who defeated McCain in the 2008 general election, also praised him.
“Few of us have been tested by the way John once was, or required to show the courage that he did,” Obama said. “But all of can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means.”
President Trump, who had a combative relationship with the senator, tweeted Saturday night: “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
First lady Melania Trump also tweeted, saying: “Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the McCain Family. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to the nation.”
Vice President Pence had this to say, also via Twitter: “Karen and I send our deepest condolences to Cindy and the entire McCain family on the passing of Senator John McCain. We honor his lifetime of service to this nation in our military and in public life. His family and friends will be in our prayers. God bless John McCain.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement: “In an era filled with cynicism about national unity and public service, John McCain’s life shone as a bright example. He showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or cliches, but the building blocks of an extraordinary American life.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said: “Our nation aches for truth-tellers. This man will be greatly missed.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he would introduce a resolution to rename the Russell office building for McCain.
“As you go through life, you meet few truly great people. John McCain was one of them. His dedication to his country and the military were unsurpassed, and maybe most of all, he was a truth teller — never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare. The Senate, the United States, and the world are lesser places without John McCain.”
McCain’s wife, Cindy, said simply: “My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best.”