Sen. John McCain appeared to take some last not so veiled swipes at President Donald Trump in a farewell message read Monday in Phoenix, charging that “tribal rivalries” and hiding “behind walls” weakens the United States.
McCain died on Saturday at his home near Sedona, Arizona from brain cancer at the age of 81. A farewell message from the Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war was read by close friend and former presidential campaign manager Rick Davis.
After speaking about the country’s best qualities, McCain said, “We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all corners of the globe.”
He added, “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.”
Sen. John McCain's final words:
"Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history. Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America," McCain says in a letter delivered posthumously by his long time aide https://t.co/HvY7XEH3gV pic.twitter.com/TvvSLWh9GO
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 27, 2018
The general tenor of the message was in emphasizing the strength and resilience of the United States, and the privilege and reward he felt in dedicating his life to the nation’s service.
“‘Fellow Americans’ — that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil,” McCain said.
The late senator drew his statement to a close quoting from his 2008 presidential race concession speech to rival Barack Obama urging Americans not to lose heart, in what he described as the country’s “present difficulties.”
“Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here,” McCain stated. “Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.”
“Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.” – Farewell statement from Senator John McCain pic.twitter.com/LBm31db1he
— Abigail Robertson (@AbigailCBN) August 27, 2018
Trump received criticism in the media for failing to mention McCain’s service to the country in a tweet offering condolences to his family on Saturday.
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2018
However, on Monday, the White House issued a statement from the president, which read in part, “Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Sen. John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.”
McCain reportedly did not want Trump to attend his funeral.
Trump said that Vice President Mike Pence will speak at a ceremony Friday at the U.S. Capitol honoring McCain.
The commander-in-chief added that White House chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and national security advisor John Bolton have been asked to represent the administration at services for McCain.
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