In the months before Senator John McCain sadly died at age 81 after battling brain cancer, the politician reportedly made a bold statement about his future funeral arrangements — he did not want President Donald Trump to attend the event.
In early May, John’s team allegedly informed the White House of the “current plan” for his funeral, according to The New York Times. At the time, John reportedly stated that he wanted Vice President Mike Pence to attend the service instead of Trump.
The news immediately sent shockwaves through Washington, DC and the rest of the US. “This is a real moment for the country, where an American hero — somebody who is beloved in many, many ways — is saying, ‘I don’t want this guy at my funeral,'” CNN’s Jake Tapper said on State of the Union this past spring.
In May, The New York Times characterized McCain and Trump’s relationship as “rocky.” In 2015, Donald, 72, said John was “not a war hero,” because he was captured as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. And in February, the POTUS attacked McCain again over the Senator’s decision to vote against the Republicans’ Affordable Care Act repeal. “Everyone said, ‘What happened? What was that all about?'” Donald said. “Boy, oh, boy… What a mess.”
And, prior to his passing, John had choice words for Trump, too, according to excerpts from his memoir, The Restless Wave. “He seems uninterested in the moral character of world leaders and their regimes,” John wrote of the President, per the Times. “The appearance of toughness or a reality show facsimile of toughness seems to matter more than any of our values. Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity.”
On Saturday, Aug. 25, the McCain family announced in an official statement that John had died just one day after it was publicly revealed that the father-of-five had chosen to discontinue medical treatments for his brain cancer. “Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2018. With the Senator when he passed were his wife Cindy [McCain] and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years,” the message from John’s office read.
Following the news, Donald took to Twitter to pay tribute to John. “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain,” the President wrote on Twitter. “Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
John’s funeral services will reportedly begin in Arizona (his home state) on Thursday, Aug. 30. His body will subsequently be flown from Phoenix, AZ to Washington, DC where it will be on display for public viewing at the US Capitol on Friday, Aug. 31. His funeral will then take place at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, Sept. 1 before John is laid to rest in the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD on Sunday, Sept. 2. According to The Huffington Post, former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush have been asked to speak at John’s funeral. While VP Mike Pence is expected to attend the service, President Trump has reportedly still not been invited.
Despite McCain’s wishes, Trump might not have planned to attend John’s funeral anyway. When former First Lady Barbara Bush died in April, Donald chose not to attend her service “to avoid disruptions due to added security.” Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all attended her funeral, though — as did Barbara’s husband, former President George H. W. Bush, of course — despite any security concerns.