Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan pays tribute to Sen. John McCain

Arturo Kim
September 2, 2018

Senator John McCain's daughter paid tribute to her father on Saturday with a broadside at President Donald Trump, lambasting the US leader without naming him for using "cheap rhetoric" against a man celebrated as a war hero and statesman.

Addressing around 3,500 mourners in an Arizona church, former Democrat vice president Joe Biden said the Republican senator had a "wicked sense of humour" and "loved a good battle".

The service for the statesman, former prisoner of war and two-time presidential candidate unfolded at North Baptist Church after a motorcade bearing McCain's body made its way from the state Capitol past Arizonans waving American flags and campaign-style McCain signs.

An honor guard of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines carried McCain's flag-draped casket up the Capitol's East steps about 10:45 a.m., as heavy rain fell. John McCain, who died of brain cancer last Saturday at 81. The hymn "Amazing Grace" is to be performed by the Brophy Student Ensemble, from the college preparatory school in Phoenix attended by McCain's sons, Jack and Jimmy.

Grant Woods, McCain's former chief of staff, delivered what sounded like a veiled shot at Trump, noting that McCain "wouldn't stand by" when people tried to stamp on the Bill of Rights, "including the First Amendment".

Those in Arizona who knew, respected, watched and loved Sen.

"I always thought of John as a brother".

Another friend, Tommy Espinoza, president and CEO of the Raza Development Fund, called McCain "one of the greatest American heroes in our lifetime".

The church's senior pastor, Noe Garcia, pronounced McCain "a true American hero".

"And i hope that what he stood for will maybe get a renewed look in our country". Biden said they "were optimists" and spoke about everything except his family's recent deaths and McCain's time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The cancer that ultimately took the life of McCain also afflicted Biden's son Beau.

On Friday afternoon, McCain's wife, Cindy, visited her husband's desk on the Senate floor with McCain's friend, South Carolina Sen. After a brief conversation, Graham took two white roses out of a vase that had been sitting on McCain's desk all week and gave them to Cindy McCain.

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Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. - who became friends with McCain after his National Football League career began, and who recently wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated on his admiration for McCain's service in Vietnam - is also slated to give remarks.

At the end of the almost 90-minute ceremony, McCain's casket was wheeled out of the church to "My Way", in tribute to a politician known for following his own path based on his personal principles.

Trump, who in the past has mocked McCain's war record, said he sent his "deepest sympathies and respect".

The ceremony was the first of two days of services in Washington honoring the Arizona senator, who served in Congress for 35 years.

A service at the Washington National Cathedral will be held on Saturday before he is buried at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday.

The funeral services were planned in advance by McCain, who made clear the U.S. president was not welcome, in what was seen as a final rebuke to Trump.

Several firefighters are standing on top of a firetruck on an overpass above a Phoenix freeway saluting a motorcade with a hearse carrying Sen.

A portrait and a birthday balloon are left outside the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday, which would have been McCain's 82nd birthday.

Likewise, a visibly distraught Meghan McCain also said a final goodbye to her father.

A public service is set to take place Thursday at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix.

"He cared about the substance of my heart moreso than where I came from", he said.

Ducey said John McCain was about more than politics, he "brought us above politics".

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