Former presidents, senators, colleagues, family deliver moving tributes to Sen. John McCain


Two ex-presidents from opposing parties united Saturday to honor USA senator John McCain, in a momentous funeral that championed his aspirations of political comity but also rebuked the tribalism and division trafficked by Donald Trump.

Obama said: "We come to celebrate an extraordinary man, a warrior, a statesman, a patriot who embodied so much that is best in America".

McCain's family had made clear that Mr Trump was not welcome at memorial services in Arizona and Washington, or at tomorrow's private burial service at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Bush told of becoming friends with his former White House rival as the two would recall their political battles like former football players remembering the big game. "He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots".

"He would probably not want us to dwell on it, but we are better for his presence among us".

"We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness".

Then, when asked about daughter Meghan McCain's remarks at the funeral - which were seen as a direct swipe at President Donald Trump - Blitzer said he agreed with what she said.

And he only marked McCain's passing on August 25 with traditional presidential actions after he came under fire from the American Legion. Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, also attended, while Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and others represented the administration in Trump's absence.

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Among those in the front row at the cathedral were Barack and Michelle Obama, George and Laura Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Dick Cheney and Al Gore.

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman of CT, a Democrat who was once re-elected as an independent, also spoke of McCain's patriotism and ability to bring people of all political parties together.

Before he went into politics, McCain was a US Navy pilot who was shot down over Hanoi while on a bombing mission in 1967.

"John understood that America was first and foremost, an idea". It's a politics that pretends to be courageous and tough, but is instead born of fear. To the face of those in authority, John McCain would insist: We are better than this. John McCain on Saturday took aim at the President of the an emotional eulogy at the Washington National Cathedral.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC, a close friend of McCain's, and McCain's children Jimmy and Sidney McCain will take part in the ceremony as well. Both men had denied McCain's presidential aspirations. McCain will be laid to rest next to his Naval Academy classmate and lifelong friend, Admiral Chuck Larson, who passed away in 2014.

Trump has sought to forge close relationships with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Congressional leaders saluted John McCain on Friday as a model of service in war and peace and "one of the bravest souls our nation has ever produced", in a memorial ceremony at the heart of the political battlefield where he fought for more than three decades. There his wife, Cindy McCain, laid a wreath to honor those who died in the war.