People close to veteran Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona have reportedly informed the White House that they plan to invite Vice President Mike Pence to the ailing senator’s eventual funeral rather than President Donald Trump.
However, Trump – with whom McCain has had a stormy relationship – is not expected to participate at the senator’s funeral service, due to be held at the Washington National Cathedral, according to his current scheduling, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Citing McCain’s “rocky relationship” with the US president as the reason Trump is not invited to the senator’s funeral event, the daily further explained that Trump was widely criticized when he infamously scorned McCain’s status as a hero in the Vietnam War during a 2015 Family Leadership Summit, insisting that McCain only became a war hero “because he was captured,” adding: “I like people who weren’t captured.”
Trump also blasted the 81-year-old McCain as “a mess” during a speech in February before the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), according to the report.
This is while NBC News reported later on Saturday that former US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are expected to deliver eulogies at McCain’s funeral.
The former Republican presidential nominee was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer last July and has been undergoing treatment since then. However despite his serious illness, he has not resigned from his legislative post and has continued to visit with friends and field conference calls with his staff in Washington.
Yet, according to the report, some of his associates insist that they want a “McCain person” appointed to fill his Senate seat after his death. Among the list of potential picks is the senator’s wife, Cindy McCain.
McCain – who became a prisoner of war after his war plane was shot down during the US military intervention in Vietnam — has also acknowledged that his upcoming memoir titled, “The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations,” will be his last book.
That book, set to be released later this month, expounds on McCain’s losing 2008 presidential bid against Democratic contender Barack Obama, and the years that followed.
In excerpts from the memoir, McCain offers a sharp rebuke of Trump, questioning his convictions as a leader and criticizing him for his attacks on refugees and the press.
“I’m not sure what to make of President Trump’s convictions,” he writes.
The book also includes an admission by the senator that he regrets not choosing former Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman – a staunch pro-Israeli Democrat turned independent — to serve as his running mate.
In his book and an upcoming HBO documentary, The Times reports, McCain states that his decision not to pick his longtime friend Lieberman was “another mistake that I made.” He instead picked former Alaska Republican governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.